HADANO, KANAGAWA PREFECTURE – On July 26, an unbelievable tragedy occurred at a care home in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture. Nineteen were killed and dozens injured in a knife attack. I pray from the bottom of my heart for the repose of the 19 innocent souls and quick recovery of those injured.
I shall never forget that one of my closest friends helped me a lot when I was studying abroad. In spite of his own big problem of being unable to speak, I could solve almost all problems thanks to him. Our communication tool was writing. Surprisingly, he could understood not only various problems but also my feelings so correctly, giving me very suitable advice at any time. Even on the day before I was to leave for Japan after finishing my studies, I was busy packing and was somewhat irritable, he told me through his writing and behavior: “Stay calm. I will help you. Do not worry!” I could not stop my tears of gratitude.
I have one more experience which shall never disappear from my memory. When I attended a big conference, I was suddenly asked to share a hotel room with a student from another Asian country for several days. It was the first time in my life to share a room with a person who was unable to see. Fortunately I could communicate well with him in spoken English.
When he spoke to a big audience at the conference, he received huge applause. It seemed to me that he had prepared the speech just in his brain, lying down on the bed. His speech was brilliant, powerful and touched the heart of everyone in the audience. When I was walking with him, taking him by his hand in the hotel, I even felt as if I was walking with the help of his hand.
I once met a person who draws beautifully, using his toes so cleverly. He cannot use his fingers. I shall never forget his pictures, filled with the beauty of life, and his own energetic power of living and drawing.
How can I call these special people “people with disabilities”? Rather it would be much closer to the truth for me to call them “very able, specially talented people.”
I have visited several facilities for people with disabilities. Every time I see the people in the care homes, I discover that they have something so pure and beautiful within, and some unique power to touch and move us at a deeper level. I feel very strongly every time our huge responsibility of coexisting and growing with them, regardless of whatever disabilities they have.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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