Wasabi Stories vol.11: “Your mind is seen into”



wasabi stories“Wasabi Stories” is a quotation and summary of a column which touches ones heart or not found on the internet.

It is a Japanese famous person’s story extracted from the NIKKEI news paper.

The purpose in posting the column in JAPAN Style is to cheer you up and to make you feel “it’ was worth reading!”

Wasabi (Japanese horseradish or mustard) is spicy and stimulate your nose and make you teary.

The columns in “Wasabi Stories” hopefully spice your heart and sometimes make you teary!

The stories were originally sent as E-mail Newsletter in Japanese. Some are a little old but we’ll eventually catch up with new ones.



“Your mind is seen into”

Today’s story is about a former school nurse, Izumi Yamada.

In Japan, school nurses have teachers’ licenses, so they are called “sensei (teacher)” by students, and not only do they give first aids to students, they support students mentally.

It’s common that students go to nurse’s office to talk their problems to their nurses.

Mrs. Yamada didn’t like teacher’s room.

Most of her time, she was in the nurse’s room, where it was almost like “counseling room” for students.

She started her career as a school nurse in Oita Prefecture in 1979.

Since then, she had been watching many students in elementary and middle schools until when she got breast cancer in 2000.

After leaving from school for a while, she returned to her job, and she noticed that the language children use got worse.

For instance, she was really uncomfortable with the words “stupid!” or “die!”, so she started “Life Lesson” for students to think about “life and death” by bringing her experience of being cancer.

“It was not just about preaching preciousness of human life, but it made the children to think about ‘living’.”

Mrs. Yamada’s co-worker said and described a scene of the lesson.


Student: “What can we do to the classmate who wouldn’t come to school?”

School refusal due to emotional distress is a problem any school faces now in Japan.

Mrs. Yamada: “Why do you want the classmate to come to school?”

Student: “… (silence. Can’t answer.)”

Mrs. Yamada: ”Students who can’t come to school are sensitive. The classmate can see into your mind if you really want to make friend with him.”


Mrs. Yamada perceived that the student.

In 2005, her cancer returned but she went back to school after absence.

She retired in 2007, and while battling against cancer, she visited various schools to teach “Life Lesson”.

One student who had withdrawn into his shell said to Mrs. Yamada when he graduated.


“Thank you for teaching me how to trust people.”

Mrs. Yamada passed away on November 21, 2008 at the age of 49.

May she rest in peace.


The NIKKEI Jan/16/2009


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