Date: Saturday, November 5th, 2016

Yumika Shimomoto, a second year student at Himeji Nishi High School, wrote an essay that was selected for an excellence award out of about 5600 entries to “The 8th High School English Essay Contest“ sponsored by Kansai Gakuin University, Yomiuri Shimbun, and Japan News. Writing the essay was a valuable experience for her. Congratulations Yumika! Her excellent work is posted below:


I’d love to see you someday

Yumika Shimomoto

This is a great year! Can you guess why? Actually, I met up with two foreign friends who visited here in Himeji and guided them around the city. It was in February and July. It was difficult for me to answer their questions about Himeji castle or to explain what charms are like, but I had a wonderful time. Both of them were my pen-pals and I have known them for a long time. One lives in New Zealand and the other lives in England. I started writing English letters when I was 9 years old. I was devoted to my writing all the time. Now, I have 25 friends in 13 countries.

I make it a rule to write “I’d love to see you someday!” in the last part of my letters. I always do this because I really want to! This year, my wish was realized thanks to my two dear friends, but all of my friends don’t live in peace. A friend of mine, a 19-year-old Kurdish girl, always suffers from terrorism around her. She never commits crimes, but she lives a terrible life because she is Kurdish. My God! Who is she? She is my friend who loves her country, Turkey, and writes beautiful poems. She also has a keen sense of justice. Here is a letter I received from my Polish friend. It’s about Auschwitz Birkenau. She gave me a world history lesson writing about the facts of 1940’s. It was terrible. “But” she said, “Don’t think I hate Germany nowadays. I have 2 friends from there.” Thanks to the widespread use of computers, we can get any information we want whenever, wherever we are today. In my case, I understand my friends’ daily lives through their “letters”.  Letters, their hand-written letters tell me everything, how they live, how they feel, what they are like, why they fought with their brothers, everything that they want to share or show me. On the other hand, I can tell jokes and make them laugh. I make friends all over the world regardless of their nationality or race.

We can make the world peaceful through letters, because my mind matures when I read my friends’ letters. By knowing my friends are in trouble, I naturally worry about them and I learned to worry for someone who I never met, but certainly lives somewhere in this world.