Japanese Special Award
"To the Future, Smiles and Harmony"
Saki Maeda (14, female) (junior high schoolsStudent)

"Saki and Satsuki's Sunny Sunny radio!"
"Hello everyone. This is Saki. Ms. S said I have a personality like a boiled egg."
"Hi. This is Ms. S, also known as Satsuki."
"But why a boiled egg?"
"Because you have a hard will like the shell of an egg, but are pure inside. I thought they were similar."
"Anyway ... toay's Sunny Sunny radio brings you a riddle."
"Dr. Hare Hare, what is a kind of bread (pan) that you cannot eat?"
"That's easy: it's a fry pan."
"That's right, Doctor!"
"Are you making a fool of me, Ms. Ameda?"
"Of course. OK, I'll give you a riddle that you'll never be able to answer.
"Brave words, Ms. Ameda. Go ahead!"
Chatting over the song "Colorful," by Tomohisa Yamashita. This is a radio show that the two of us launched called "Saki and Satsuki's Sunny Sunny radio." We broadcast it once a week in our school. We started this radio show for the simple reason that it sounded like something fun that we'd like to try.
I used a little creativity in making the characters on the radio show. First of all, who is the character Ms. Ameda? Let me explain the origin of her name.
I invented the character of a trainee for the show when I decided there was going to be a character to partner the doctor. We'd already decided to call the doctor Dr. Hare Hare ("Sunny Sunny"), based on the program's name. But we couldn't decide on the trainee's name.
Since the doctor was Satsuki's idea, she naturally got to play him. Consequently, I would play the trainee. When we tried to think of a name, we noticed that my surname "Maeda" becomes "Ameda" if you switch the first two letters. We immediately agreed to use this name. "Ame," which means "rain," wasn't meant to contrast with "Hare," meaning "sunny". It turned out to be a play on words by accident.
It was fun to join forces in answering the questions or solving the riddles that listeners posed us. Other than that, we would make use of our different strong points and read books aloud or do interviews with guests. After the biggest event at Shizu-mo (ShizuokaSpecialSupportSchool for the Visually Impaired), the Shizu-mo Festival, we did an interview with the teacher who acted as the chairperson. It was nerve-wracking to think of questions or responses to match our interviewee's story.
Our latest hit was a performance of "Happy Every Day," a song we composed together. We love music and our motto is "To the Future, Smiles and Harmony." We have been singing lots of songs together since we met, but my dream is to make sounds by ourselves.
"What will tomorrow's school lunch be? What will we learn tomorrow? We're happy thinking about the future now..."
Looking back on this past year, things haven't always gone smoothly. One day we lost the draft of the performance we were supposed to read that day. Some days we realized that we'd left the draft somewhere just before we needed it, so one of us would have to keep talking while the other rushed out to pick up the draft. We would often get many requests at once, so we could only play music on the show. Sometimes the sound quality of the interview was poor, or we'd get flustered when the music didn't start right away. So we've had lots of challenges so far.
Despite all these mishaps, nobody at the school tried to stop our show. Even when we mistimed our customary sign-off one time and started to laugh, lots of people were supportive and appreciative. They said things like, "You two are great. How come you click so well when you talk together?" "Thank you for playing my request. Please play my request next time, too" and "I enjoyed it so much. Thank you. I'm looking forward to next time." Really, it should be us thanking them...
The best thing about starting this radio show has been getting to know my partner. Satsuki has now grown into a close friend. We're both a little immature, but together we complement each other well. To be honest, though, I depend on Satsuki for a lot of things. She helps me do things like unlock the studio door or operate the CD/tape deck.
One day, this happened: Satsuki was absent on the day of the show. I managed to rewrite the draft on time, but I couldn't work out how to operate the equipment. What was I to do? I managed to finish the show that day, after getting a teacher to help me. I didn't have time to worry; I was just complaining to myself the whole time, "Why is she absent on such an important day?"
That night, she apologized over the phone. I was glad to know she was thinking about me. I felt touched once again by her warm personality. When it comes down to it, I can always smile when I'm with Satsuki.
Satsuki is in third grade, one year above me. There is one more year left for us to broadcast the show together. We want to spend the rest of our time together helping each other. Even though we might have difficulties, I want to look ahead and live life like in the lyrics of my favorite song "Smile Again." I have Satsuki's strong support all the way.


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