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This was written as homework by one of my Saturday students, Akane. I was very moved by this story. It shows how much a smile and a small act of kindness can have a big effect. What a lovely story, thank you Akane!
My North Korean friend "Mrs Kim" runs a yakiniku restaurant in my neighborhood. I want to talk about her son, "Chance”.
My 2nd son, "Sho”, played soccer when he was in junior high school, in a local soccer league. One year there was no keeper for the soccer team one year above him, so Sho decided to play keeper with a team where players were one year older than him.
Unfortunately he had trouble fitting in. He always spent break time alone. He looked lonely, and I was watching it from a distance, unable to help.
One day, "Chance" joined the team. There was no soccer team for the North Korean school he attended, so he wanted to play in a local league.
He really wanted to play soccer in Japan, and had been trying to get into a league for a whole year already, but he was refused because of his nationality. Finally, he was able to join Sho’s team.
He experienced discrimination and bullying, and I was guilty of that too. I didn't want to have relations with North Koreans, because I was hearing negative news about North Korea everyday.
Chance changed my feelings.
Chance was always smiling and friendly to Sho, who was alone during break time. He had a very kind smile. One day during break time, I saw Chance give Sho some Korean seaweed rolls.
"Chance is a really kind person", I thought. So I’m ashamed of myself and I felt like an idiot for being prejudiced. We shouldn’t discriminate against people. The most important thing is individual humanity.
Anyway, I instantly became a fan of Chance. His parents were busy on weekends, and couldn't come to watch the matches. So I decided to film all of their games, and send photos to Chance's parents.
Also, at the end of the season, Sho and I made a slide show and gave it to them.
Since then, we have been very close with the Kim family.