Student Group - Excellent Work (Japan)
“A chance”
Senior, General Course, the Senior High School Part, Tochigi Prefectural School for the Blind
Haruka Okubo (17 years old, female)

Station I had not been before. It was a crowded place and for me with poor eyesight, it was a place I had to be nervous about. Though I was accompanied by my family, it was a kind of torture for me to walk there. Probably, if I have a white cane under this kind of situation, it would be of big assistance to me. Thinking of such things, I was walking as usual while my younger sister was leading me by the hand.
The white cane was bought as I was told that I could use it anytime if I had one. But I hesitated to walk with a white cane. Rather, I was scared of what other people around me would think of me.
“The white cane is as important as my life.”
Some of my friends told me so but I had no such feeling to my white cane.Above all things, I had strong feelings that if I had the white cane, the people around me might give me a funny look..., I do not like that.
I was thinking that way but I kept the white cane in my bag whenever I went out. Because I hoped that such a time that I could use the white cane proudly would come to me someday.
In the station. I was walking to spend time in a shop to wait for our train. There were stairs but in such a crowd, it was not a situation that allowed me to walk up the stairs slowly.
My mother guided me to a nearby sloped walkway, saying “you could walk without causing troubles to the people around.”
At that time, the place was so crowded that I wondered how it would be possible for such a large number of people to be in the station at the same time. I thought I was walking as desperately as I could. Of course, I thought I was attentive to the movement of people around. Even if I walked as if I was pulled by my younger sister, my mother got farther and farther away from us. I was struggling to keep up with her with fear of losing sight of my mother. In such moment, I might have been too desperate to be attentive to the people around.
Oops? I stopped walking as I felt some kind of a presence. Yes, in front of me, there was a lady. The lady was grasping something, and it was after I passed her that I noticed that it was a baby stroller with a small child inside.
I felt pressed with care not to bump against her and moved to the empty side.I said, “Sorry” but she might not have heard it.
Almost simultaneously I stepped out of her way, the lady shouted to me as we passed each other,
“How come you ordinary people walk on this way! Don’t you know I am having hard time in walking with this. Why don’t you use the stairs?” and she had gone. At that moment, indescribable sorrow and anger arose in my mind. “What the heck is this? You don’t have to tell me in such a manner because you are pushing your baby stroller. It isn’t that I am “ordinary,” either.” I was near to tears. But how could I cry in the presence of my younger sister? My sister was asking me worriedly, “Are you okay?” and I answered to her, “for what?” My mother was walking to the shop without knowing what had occurred behind her back. Being messed up in the head, I was led by the hand and walked up to the shop.
I was already inside the shop when I finally came back to myself. I was too sad to remember even when I entered the shop. What she told me was repeatedly reproduced in my mind. I found myself close to tears and placed my head down on the table. My mother noticed my unusual manner and asked me what happened. I was afraid to burst out crying if I opened my mouth to speak something and just nodded no. Then, my younger sister started talking about that lady to my mother.
After a little while, my mother said to me,
“You’d better using your white cane.”
I know that but I’m scared of what other people around me would think of me...
“Just use your white cane once. If you do not like it, you could put it away in your bag.Isn’t it?”
I still felt reluctant to use my white cane, but I held my white cane and left the coffee shop as my mother told me. On the way to the platform, a lady who was about to pass in front of me stopped suddenly. She looked at me and said, “Excuse me” and took the trouble to pass behind me. I could not know what she thought when she saw my white cane but I felt happy.
I was told so many times, “You never look you have poor eyesight,” but I was convinced that they might have been right.
From that time down to the present, I walk with my white cane in my hand whenever I go out.
I was scared of what other people around me would think of me... I used to think in such a manner but now I don’t care about that! I am carrying my white cane so that the people around me could know “what kind of a person I am.” Of course, I am sure that I will walk my way together with my white cane for years to come, too.
Needless to say, it is not always true that having a white cane is all fun. But, now, I think that I could understand a little bit what my friends said to me before that “the white cane is as important as my life.”

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