Last August, I was giving a talk at Hachinohe Book Center in Japan, promoting my newly published book. When it was time for Q&A, an elderly lady stood up from the audience seat. That was Mrs Tsuda, my teacher at first grade of elementary school. I recognised her face right away even though we hadn’t seen each other for over 30 years.
I was the slowest child in the class. It took me so long to do anything. I came to school late because I was dawdling. I couldn’t finish eating school lunch in time so I continued eating while everyone was tidying up the classroom. I was so slow doing work that I continued working after everyone finished and left the class. But Mrs Tsuda was patient. Rather than looking at what I wasn’t good at, she focused on what I was good at. Although I was slow in writing, she found I was actually good at writing. So she allowed me to work outside the class time so I could finish what I was working on. That year I wrote an essay about a book and won an award, thanks to her patient and continuous support.
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