adolescent memories


The summer when I was in Grade 7, my social science teacher gave us an assignment to create a statue of a historical figure we admired using paper clay. “It can be anybody from any period of time,” my teacher instructed. “It can be a whole body or a bust. You choose!” Being a fan […]

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Narrow Escape

When I was in high school, I used to take a subway to the nearest station, then walk to school from there. Close to the school, there was a small Buddhist temple with a cemetery. It was my daily habit to look inside the cemetery through the gap of decorative stone fence. One morning, I

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A French Restaurant

The first year I lived in Tokyo by myself, there was one restaurant that I’d go to when I felt lonely or needed a little pickup: a small French restaurant in the quiet corner of a noble neighbourhood. I’d go there for my weekend lunch. The place was usually quiet when I got there. I

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Sunrise from the rooftop

When I was in high school, I took part in the Earth Science Club. Strangely, there were no regular weekly activities, but a few times each semester, the club hosted an overnight stargazing session. About thirty of us would stay up late in one of the classrooms, regularly going up to the rooftop observatory to

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Lasting Inspiration

I’m thirteen in this memory. On weekend mornings, I eat my breakfast watching a TV. After a few news programs, documentary programs come on, and I continue watching for some time even after I finish eating my meal. One day, a documentary program takes me to an old lady living in a beautiful house in

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About Jumping

When I was about fifteen, one day, my maternal grandmother was visiting my home and we were chatting when she mentioned how as she grew older, she found certain physical activities difficult. “For example, I find jumping hard these days,” she said. “When I follow the exercise program on the radio, when it’s time to

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Rooibos Tea

The year when I was nineteen, I was in Tokyo preparing for the university entrance exam. It was the first time I’d left my hometown and lived on my own, and my parents notified all the relatives and family friends in the area to watch out for me. One of those people was my father’s

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A Blue Flower

The spring I entered junior high school, the whole first year went on an overnight trip to the northern part of our prefecture. It was a trip our new teachers organized for us as a radical icebreaker, giving us a chance to get to know our new friends outside of the school environment. Each class

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Fantastic and Refined

The summer when I was in high school, one weekend, my mother took me to the nearby shopping mall to buy me some new T-shirts I could wear to school. Not particularly interested in fashion, I walked around the floor of ladies’ clothing dispassionately when my mother signaled to me in front of a rack

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Meeting Spot

When I was a college student in Tokyo, I had a friend whom I’d meet up with in Ikebukuro, a neighbourhood in the northwest of Metropolitan Tokyo not too far from Shinjuku. We always met there because not only the place was accessible from both our places by just one train, several department stores were

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