Today is the day when I will be able to step up to my University, which I am very happy about. On the other hand, I am not going to be a part of this school from tomorrow, which is a sad thing for me. My six years at Rikkyo flew by like a boat down a waterfall, time flies as in the proverb. However, at times, when I was having trouble with my end of term exams, time did not pass as quickly. I have lots of memories with the campus, nature, students, and teachers. I still cannot imagine that I am going to leave here and I will not be able to see all of you regularly at school.
In Rikkyo, I had various opportunities to speak English with students and native people. Especially, when I was in middle school, I went to towns near my school to ask questions to locals. For example, I remember that I asked one elderly man whether he knew my school or not. I asked only this question to around ten people in one period. These short conversations encouraged me to speak English aloud to British people even though I made some grammatical mistakes and they sometimes kindly corrected my English. I realized that it is important to work hard to learn to speak what I really wanted to say. Then other people tried to listen and understand me. Not saying anything doesn’t achieve anything. Other activities such as field works, belling at St Nicolas Church in Cranleigh in 2011, and a week long exchange programme with Thomas Hardye School in 2015 helped me to improve greatly my English skills.
Homestay was the best occasion to embrace the British culture. I have stayed with sixteen different families during my six years at Rikkyo. I think that it was a privilege to stay with so many different families. Some host families were very friendly and I wanted to stay there again, but others were not. But in total, I gained important experiences. As I mentioned before, host families were sometimes very hospitable. I was able to ask anything I wanted and I enjoyed talking with them about the difference between Japan and the UK. These happy memories are still in my mind and I often think that I want to meet them again. However, some families were not as kind to me. I still do not know the reason. Maybe they didn’t like my daily life attitude. But it was good for me to solve these relationships and it made me think how I should deal with them or how I should make them feel more comfortable. I tried talking with them about their interests and found common interests. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. When I was feeling down, I always told myself that these bad experience would lead to success in different ways. Homestay was also a great opportunity to take a look at myself again to find my faults so that I can become a better person to be able to contribute to society in the future..
In comparison with outside activities of Rikkyo, I had so many happy and troublesome memories in Rikkyo. Before we got a huge water storage tank, there were many times I could not wash the foam away from my head because of the water shortage. The water from shower suddenly stopped and I wore my gown with foam on my head and I went outside to wash it away in the rain. Unfortunately, it did not work well. Finally, I used the little amount of cold water from the tap to wash it away. Unfortunately I got headache afterwards. So you should not wash your hair in the rain! Now, there is a huge water tank and a generator in my school, so students do not have the same difficulties in daily life. I enjoyed my school life with my classmates day and night, sometimes after lights out. I could not see my parents so often, but my friends and teachers cheered me up a lot during my studies and club activities. That is why I was able to get to this point.
Reading Marathon, this was one of my most important routines at school. It taught me that studying English is a lot of fun. I started to read it from April 2011, when I was a middle school 1 student. In the beginning, as my English vocabulary was not substantial enough, it took over one hour to complete it every day. I used my electronic dictionary and searched the meaning of all words in the article, and sometimes I even searched the meaning of the word, “like “. As I became older year by year, I needed to use it less and less often and I could submit the work in ten minutes, except Mr Kobayashi’s. His questions were very complex, which means his questions were very interesting, so I read his article very carefully to understand it perfectly every time. I did not want to make any mistakes, so I worked very hard on them.
However, when I moved to high school, I started to focus on thinking about whether my way of studying would improve my English to an advanced enough level. Actually, I failed the Eiken grade pre1 and FCE over three times each. I had been doing Reading Marathon everyday, but my reading skills were not advanced enough to pass by their standards. Last year, one of my English teachers gave me advice to read articles more difficult than Reading Marathon and tackle interpreting an English text, to learn how to structure sentences. So, I bought some books of the content for myself. After I started, I felt that the way of my reading had changed, I was able to understand the structure of difficult sentences by separating clauses automatically. I even started to read newspaper in the staff room. I used to read only tennis articles, but Mr Kurahsina, my class teacher instructed me not to do this. He told me to read articles which were not about tennis. So I started to read different articles especially ones about business every day because I was interested in studying business management at university. Although when Mr Kurashina was not at school on every Saturday, I checked his desk in the staff room to make sure he wasn’t in, and I secretly read some tennis articles as well. Last year, I finally passed FCE, Eiken, and IELTS score for British universities. I found that the small changes in study techniques gave me incredible progression. It is also important to memorise English vocabulary using “the Target,” an English vocabulary book. But I strongly recommend you to do these things to study English as well. I have some more advice on studying English but I will stop here for now.
During my time at Rikkyo, I have gained many useful skills and common sense for life as an adult. I am so pleased to have studied and lived here with my wonderful friends, moreover I was lucky enough to have teachers who looked after me as my own parents, and I always felt safe and secure. Rikkyo is my second home, even once I leave here. I am looking forward to coming back here as an old boy one day. ” Be the person who other people want to rely on and feel not want to leave from their side” . Miss Umeda, my modern Japanese teacher told me in our final lesson and I was impressed with the phrase very much. I do not feel like I am that person yet, so I will gain more knowledge at University and become the person she described and the person I want to be.
Last of all, I would like to say thank you to my classmates, older students who have graduated already, younger students, all the teachers, kitchen staffs, and cleaning ladies. If it were not for their support, I would not be the person I am today. I will not forget all six years’ of your support and I will not let it go to waste in the future. I also want to say huge thank you to my parents. They worked very hard to pay for expensive tuition fees for six years and the occasional visits to the UK to see me. I will go to King’s College London, so they will still have to work hard for a few more years for me. I would like to help their job in my spare time and I will help and be dutiful to my parents for the rest of my time.
Thank you for your patience throughout my long speech and I will see you again soon.