These essays have made it all the way across the globe courtesy of Tom Fast, a ducts contributor and an English teacher in Japan. Let's cheer Tom's students as these teenage writers try out their fantastic new English skills!


Neki Naoko, age 15

April 1st, 1985 is the day when I was born. I have 2 brothers. I am their younger sister. My brothers and I are very close and sometimes we play together. One day one of my brothers was on the stairs. He was below me on the stairs. He told me to "come on down."

Hmmmm… I jumped. That’s all I remember. Since that day, I am "baka" [crazy]. I was 10 years old then. That year was a shocking year. It was also the year I learned that Santa Claus is a lie.

Santa Claus is my father. Presents don’t arrive by magic -- they are bought at Tenmaya [department store]. I was very disappointed. But now, I say to ‘Santa Claus,’ "I want a Walkman. The price is sixteen thousand and five hundred yen. Ok?" "Let me see…" Santa Claus is troubled.

When I was a 12 year old junior high student, I read many many books. I read one hundred books that year. When I was a junior high student, I liked reading. I liked drawing pictures. But I didn’t like studying. I always ran away from it. "Math die!" My teacher said, "Neki, when I was a college student, I felt the same way." My teacher felt sympathy for me. So he told the class, "Everybody shout: ‘Math die out!!’"

Once when I was 14 years old, I was going home on a cold day in winter. I rode my bicycle. I said, "Samu Samu! [Cold! Cold!] Rush! Go home!" At that same time, I saw a strange light in the sky. "What is it?" I thought. The light stopped and came down. I don’t remember any more.

There are many wonders in the world.

This is the end of my story.




Ryoko Kamegawa, age 17

I was born on February 5th, 1983. I was born with my twin sister. Her name is Atsuko. From the moment I was born, I was not alone.

When I was born into this world, I didn’t know I had a twin. Of course it was the same for Atsuko. But when my older sister saw us, she said, "Two funny monkeys!" Everybody said, "Are you twins? You have the exact same face!" But sister and I never felt this way. Even if we looked in the mirror together, we didn’t think so. We knew that we were very different even if our faces were almost the same.

Recently I’ve begun notice how different we really are. This is because people no longer tell us we look the same. Some people don’t even believe we are twins and we feel the same way. "Twin" is only a word. We each have our own color even if we were born together.

Still, Atsuko may be my best partner in life – even though I don’t want to admit it at times (smile). If she were to die, I don’t think I could handle it, because then for the first time, I would truly be alone.

Our bond is very strong – much stronger than the bond between other siblings. If I lose Atsuko, I will never lose the "feel" of her. I hope she feels the same. I want to live in this world with my twin sister, my family, lover and friends for a long time. I like being alone, but I don’t want to be alone too long.



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