Shiho the star
I did better in English than the rest of the subjects, but so did many other girls. A lot of them had aspirations to learn about the world and had a scope of studying abroad. One girl, in particular, impressed me with her career plan to become a diplomat. Shiho was the top student who had come from a family that all members attended Tokyo University and had high profile jobs. It was her plan, not a dream, to follow suit.
I did as well as or sometimes better than her in English, so she took notice of me. I was amazed by how kind and respectful she was, as I had expected more pride from a top student. I would have been condescending if I were one. She was so secure of herself that she could praise others. She confided her desire to see the world to me, so I also told her I couldn’t wait to leave my hometown and, eventually, my country. She assured me I could do it. A figure like her was a beacon of hope for my muddled adolescent mind that maybe my goal was achievable. But compared with the sparkling star as she was, I was just a dim light at that point.