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Rebuilding the Past to Teach the Future

There was a terrible fire recently in Okinawa. Maybe you saw the news. There was a huge fire at the Shuri Castle in Okinawa. Most of the buildings were burned completely. It was very hard to watch that on television. I went to Okinawa a few times before and have visited the Shuri Castle. It was so beautiful and I had a very strong feeling of the deep and beautiful Okinawan culture when I was there.

Okinawa is such an interesting place, and is such an incredible culture and environment. I am looking forward to my next visit to Okinawa and am a little sad that the Shuri castle will not be there.

But one day it will be there again. One day the Shuri castle will be re-built and it will still be beautiful and it will still have the heart and spirit of Okinawa in it too. It is true that it is a great loss that the castle was burned completely but that does not completely remove the spirit of the people who live in Okinawa, or the spirit of Japan that is still strong.

I became interested this week to learn more about other important places that have been rebuilt. There are many all over Japan. Large parts of the Imperial palace in Tokyo, Osaka Castle, Nagoya Castle, Kinkakuji in Kyoto, Kanda Jinja in Tokyo, the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the city of Kobe after the giant earthquake of 1995, are a few examples of places and buildings in Japan that were destroyed, but are coming back again.

I like the expression in Japanese (七転び八起き) “Nana korobi ya oki”. We don’t have something like that in English. This expression gives me a good feeling and I like it because when I can’t do something easily I think about this expression and I want to try again. Maybe in English we can say, “Fall down seven. Get up eight.”

Maybe you had some experience like this in your own life. Maybe you got a bad score on a test, or you had trouble in the recent Eiken examination. Sometimes we don’t win easily. Sometimes we can’t get the result that we want. But we must try again. We must get up again. We must fight and build again.

I think about how difficult it is to learn English. It takes such a long time. Maybe you feel like you cannot do it. Maybe you lose your confidence. Maybe you feel like you have no power. But that is not true. You have studied and worked hard for a long time. Don’t think about how you did not pass your test. Don’t think about all the things that you did not do perfectly.

Just get up. Just try again. Just rebuild. Just go forward.

The most interesting people in the world have a long history of personal mistakes and personal failure. It is okay to fail. It is okay to make mistakes. When we have something we fail at, or we have a mistake we have a chance to learn from it. We have a chance to see something important from the bad test, from the trouble we have. Don’t be shy to look at the damage you have had, or the mistakes you had. From this day we can rebuilt.

Shuri Castle will come back to Okinawa. You and I can come back from our own troubles too.

Fall down seven. Get up eight.