Hisako's essay (2002/3/1)
How I re-discovered Yasuko(Arima-san)

On that evening several years ago, I, as a busy mom, was multitasking as usual - eating supper,
feeding my sons and watching TV. I wasn't paying much attention to anything in particular,
but a woman on TV dressed in pale pink suits caught my eyes. I think I know this woman, I said
to myself. It took several seconds for a slow search function of my brain to match the woman
on the TV screen and my classmate from high school who was a member of swimming club.
Next moment, I was screaming at my children, "Look! She is a friend of mine, Arima-san."
I quickly picked up a high school yearbook and dialed her phone number of more than 15 years
old. Luckily I got through to her. This was how I found her again after so many years of
disconnection.

Since we became friends again, I've been learning a lot from her. I couldn't help telling her how
I wished I could be given a chance back in high school days to share her thoughts on being a
sibling. She said that she had so much to overcome to give anybody any chance. It might be
also good for me to have waited because all the while until I discovered her again, my son with
cerebral palsy made me grow in so many ways.

Just recently, a mother of a boy with autism said to me, " I found a very good web-site dealing
with sibling issues. Why don't you check it?" The URL she gave me was Yasuko's. How proud
I was when I told her that the person developed the web-site was a good friend of mine! Given
that I probably won't be able to make so many friends whom I can be really proud of, I can
never thank enough that I could find her again.

Seminar and Sibshop in Japan

Ever since I started working as an interpreter, I have been wishing to work in the field of
children's welfare. So, September 7th was the day my wish came true. As for the seminar,
I won't mention how wonderful Don, Anne and Yasuko were, believing that you know them
already. What I'd like to draw your attention to is the quality audience we had on that day.
I never had such an enthusiastic audience in my job. I saw many heads that were nodding,
many hands that were taking notes and many upper bodies that were leaning forward, by
which I was totally overwhelmed. Among all the people who gathered, not a single person
fell into a nap (Do you take it for granted?), which is rather unusual (Believe me).
The earnest attitude of the audience demonstrated a high level of concern over sibling
issues they all shared. With the expectation as high as this, I tried my very best, and I found
myself completely exhausted when the day was over. But it was rather a pleasant fatigue.
And I apologize if there were any shortcomings on my part.

On the following day, September 8th, we had a Sibshop demonstration.

For this special occasion, I asked my good partner, Ms Aki Nishi, who is an in-house interpreter
of a renowned research institute, to come to help us. The plan was that Aki interprets
whatever Don says while I interpret children's answers and comments. To be honest, it was
the first time to interpret children's utterance. But I was happy to find that all the children
spoke articulately. It was actually much easier than interpreting a savvy businessman who
tries to make his statement as equivocal as possible. I was impressed that children who were
very nervous at the beginning loosened up quickly under the good baton of Don and made
friends each other. Each one of the children participated on that day stay in my memory.

After the event.

Fortunately two mothers of my son's classmates came to the seminar. In December last
year, they, in conjunction with a local organization for parents of mentally disabled, held a
sibling meeting. The participants in the meeting were nine junior and senior high school
students, who hit it off with each other and even went to bowling together after the meeting.
If I remember correctly, according to Don, it is unlikely for a teenager's meeting to go well
because taking about siblings is not "cool" for them. The above case might be a delightful
exception.

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