Another year, another stressful November to come. It’s that time of year again, the most talked about project in the TALONS program itself: The eminent person project. Coming back this year as a grade 10, I’m glad I know what to expect. I can gladly admit, I had no idea what I was doing last year, and sometimes I want to rewind and fix the mess that was my project last year. However, that was the past, and I have high hopes for myself this year. This year  I am really aiming to just feel more at ease with the project, have a good learning center idea,  and to as always, improve on my public speaking. My goal this year is to definitely pay more attention to my blog posts. I feel like last year, I felt like the blog posts were small things that were in the background and boy did I feel bad when I got my mark back to see I failed.  I want to aim to exceed all my expectations as of right now. So back to the post, let’s get started! As you can probably tell from the title, my eminent person this year is going to be Sadako Sasaki.

” I will write peace on your wings, and you will fly all over the world”

Sadako Sasaki, an ordinary girl who dreamed of just making it day to day. Born on January 7th of 1943, Sadako was only two years old when the atomic bomb dropped by the United States exploded only about a mile from ground zero in Hiroshima. Sadako only an infant then, was blown out the window still living when her mother found her and they fled their home. Her grandmother ran back to the house to retrieve something, but was never seen again. Most of Sadako’s neighbours were killed, however, she was left almost unharmed, or how it seemed on the outside.

Growing up, she was the fastest runner in her class and was well respected by her peers. It was during an extremely important relay race, she felt dizziness, but she brushed it off thinking it was only the exertion from running the race that made her feel sick. However, the next couple races ended up with her out of breathe and close to passing out. At  the age of 11, she passed out after a race, and couldn’t get back up. She was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with leukemia. At that time in Japan, people call the disease “A-bomb disease” because it affected many children that survived the atomic bomb several years after due to radiation. Her family was told she only had close to a year to live and she was put in the hospital.

Sadako middle in the front row
Sadako middle in the front row

Shortly after, her best friend Chikuzo came to visit her at the hospital. That day, Sadako was given hope when Chizuko brought origami paper. Chizuko told her the old Japanese legend that if a sick person folds a thousand cranes, they are given one wish. Sadako ended up trying to fold cranes out of anything from medicine wrappers to paper out of the garbage. She never gave up and was cheerful until the end. On October 25, 1955 Sadako died peacefully with her family around her, in the hospital.

Hundreds of paper cranes (http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2011/088/6/8/paper_crane_rainbow_by_fraeuleinamok-d3cs91c.jpg)
Hundreds of paper cranes (http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2011/088/6/8/paper_crane_rainbow_by_fraeuleinamok-d3cs91c.jpg)

There’s been many versions of how many cranes she ended up folding. Some say she finished folding a thousand cranes, but the most famous version is from the book ” Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” saying she folded a total of 644 cranes. Her saddened classmates ended up finishing the rest of the cranes and started a cause that raised enough money to build a monument in her honor. The monument is known as the Children’s Peace Monument located near where the bomb was dropped. Visitors all over the world still fold cranes to place beneath the statue reading the same wish engraved on the statue “This is our cry, This is our prayer, Peace in the world.”

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes book (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/13/Sadako_and_the_thousand_paper_cranes_00.jpg)
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes book (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/13/Sadako_and_the_thousand_paper_cranes_00.jpg)
Opening ceremony for Sadako's monument
Opening ceremony for Sadako’s monument

Sadako’s story has had a big place in my heart for the past six years. In elementary school, I knew nothing about the world war, however I remember reading “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” in fourth grade, and just being able to remember any books from 6 years ago means that Sadako has always been a part of me growing up. It’s one of the only books that still stand out to me, and I even attempted to fold that many paper cranes in elementary school. I remember being in Whistler in 2008 and just spending a whole weekend folding around 300 cranes. I actually still had the bag of all the cranes up to last year, when it took up too much room in my house and I had to throw it out. I find that the connection between Sadako and I is actually strangely strong. During world war II, Japan and China were actually on opposite sides (Axis and allies) and I remember growing up and learning about the world war from my grandma who was alive during that period. I also visited Pearl Harbor on Oahu Island, Hawaii during middle school.  I feel like with some knowledge ahead of time, my eminent project may actually succeed and hopefully, even better than last year! We’ll just have to wait and see…

Dad and I visiting Pearl Harbor in 2011
Dad and I visiting Pearl Harbor in 2011