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AQUA JOURNAL

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New green leaves are shining. Comfortable dry breeze are blowing and colorful Koinobori (carp windsocks) are swimming gently in the blue sky. In Japan, we have special successive holidays in beginning of May. No matter where you see, peoples’ smiles and cheerful voices are there. One day in such beautiful season, she was born and became my younger sister.

 

She is three years younger than me. Since we were small, we were always together; we slept in the same room, shared the same dolls, dressed in matching clothes, taught each other what we learnt, and quarreled and then reconciled. There were worlds existed between us that we couldn’t share with our parents and other siblings. There, I was always her older sister and she was always my younger sister. My innocent little sister was following me at all times. After 26 years, however, such way of relationship as younger one and older one has been fading away. My younger sister, who used to just follow me, sometimes walks ahead of me and brings new breeze into my life by showing the path new to me.

 

If someone asks us, who inherit my father’s DNA the strongest among my siblings, I would answer that is my younger sister. It’s no exaggeration to say that family structure is so significant that it affects our personality and even life. The youngest child seems (as a general tendency), innocent, if we speak favorably of it, or freewheeling, if we speak unfavorably of it. Furthermore, we cannot help but helping and taking care of them; they are born to be good at being spoiled. I am not saying my father and my younger sister are similar to each other simply because both of them happened to be born as the youngest in a family. My father spares no effort in finding what he likes with listening to his heart and absorbs it, and my younger sister inherited that particular nature from him.

 

There is an event that became a tipping point for my younger sister. My parents and I will never forget the fateful day. It was the day we were proud of her more than ever before. “Some people might say it is just a self-prize though, she was shining more than anyone,” my father said.

 

It was in the early summer when my younger sister was a high school senior. She put herself up for a team leader of sport festival and selected as the leader of the performance category. A team consist of 90 students, from freshman to senior, was going to perform on the school ground to express the theme assigned to each team for over ten minutes. My sister was going to play a role as executive producer being in charge of image building, composition, music selection, choreography, and instructing. Leading and organizing people were something she was most bad at. We were becoming anxious about it – why did she become a team leader? Was it really possible for her to do? As we expected, my sister was struggling everyday even at home.

 

The theme of her team was “the Phantom thief.” She said she would like to not only convey the image of the cool and unbeatable Phantom thief but also express the story in a way that audiences get drawn into it – she was aiming for an impressive show. Collecting movies and documents on Phantom thieves, she had been struggling to coordinate ideas and organize the team. Our family was, of course, involved in her big mission. I gave advice on the composition and selection of music, my mother made costumes for the team, and my father made an experiment in balloon. “Balloons, you know,” my younger sister said at our dinning table, “I want to let balloons fly away at once but balloons actually fly slowly. How can I let them fly lightly?” My father answered immediately, “You can simply fill the balloons with helium.” He seemed quite sure about it but he had to avoid ruining the big moment for his daughter. So, he filled balloons with helium and made an experiment to make sure they fly in a way his daughter wants.

 

The day for the real stage came. Although my father had hardly attended his children’s school events before, he took his camera and went to see his daughter’s big stage with my mother and I. It was a comfortable fine day; it was a perfect weather for sport festival. I found my younger sister from the distance. Being in the costume of Phantom thief with other team members, she looked like not my sister but somebody else. At home she was still my younger sister, but at the same time she was 18 years old girl, the middle of adolescent. She even gave me a reliable impression as a team leader. Before the big moment, she ran up to us. While she was saying that she was nervous, she looked brave. We were getting more restless than she was.

 

 

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With the up-tempo music, the performance of the Phantom thief started. The thieves appeared first, and then the policemen popped up. The thieves were running away and the policemen were chasing. The music made the audiences excited; the audiences were thrilled with the thieves that dogging away lightly from the policemen. At last, the thieves won against the policemen because what they had stolen was only hearts of the audiences. A lot of heart-shaped balloons soared to the sky for the ending of the story. And then, the thieves left the stage gracefully.

 

Was it because we are her family? – No, it wasn’t. Audiences usually can feel other audiences’ reaction. I felt everybody enjoyed the show and I was moved by the team Phantom thieves that made the audiences excited together; they triggered something miracle, which could be created only at the real stage. As a result, my younger sister’s team won first place in the performance category. I thought it was a natural outcome and we celebrated her achievement and effort. Even though some may say it is self-prize or a behavior of doting parent, we were all proud of her marvelous performance.

 

My younger sister is now engaged in the field of performance art. The paths both she and my father are running on are different to mine. But I want to know what they are looking there.

 

There are countless excitements waiting for us.

 

 

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text & illustration by Sayuri Amano

English translation by Megumu Ogata