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How I wished it were a dream! I just stood there in front of the TV blankly in despair. I really expected she would put on her best performance ever! I was looking forward to giving her a big round of applause at that very moment, praising the completion of her skating career! When I heard her voice saying, "I wonder what happened to me," in the interview right after the performance, however, I became irritated and almost turned off the TV. I'm talking about Mao Asada, a top female figure skater in Japan. She vowed to get a gold medal in Sochi after she had been defeated by her Korean rival Kim Yona at the Vancouver Olympics four years ago. As a fan, I believed she could make it!
Actually, I wanted to rejoice over her great achievement to forget about the agony and trouble I had been through over the past three weeks. I was working on an important project but my repeated blunders led to the worst result. All my efforts were in vain. As a result, I needed a pleasant impact on my vague heart to escape from reality and to avoid becoming depressed. I knew deep inside that I was to be blamed, not Mao. I almost kicked a cardboard box on which dinner's leftovers were still sitting. At this time of year there's always a cardboard box in our living room. The dining table is completely covered with a red cloth and occupied by hina dolls for the Girls' Festival. The dolls are supposed to give us hope for our daughters' weddings and brighten up our minds, but eating meals on the floor while looking up at the dolls is very awkward and even funny to think of. This year I'm feeling even miserable. My daughters usually come home late after their part-time jobs and rush to their beds without appreciating the dolls at all anyway. I was really glad I didn't kick the box and make the untidy room even messier though.
Frankly speaking, I wasn't an enthusiastic fan of Mao's, but since she'd been featured widely in the media, I had a feeling that I'd known her for a long time. I kind of watched her like an aunt. I was sure she'd have a lot of pressure, but I really hoped she'd reach her goal: the gold medal. I didn't like her at all when she was younger because she seemed to be innately talented in skating and full of confidence even though she was just a kid. She has always been cheerful and treated like an idol, not an athlete. I thought she should face more difficulties as she grew up so that she would be tougher. I started to admire her after the last Olympics, though. She renounced her pride and gave up concentrating on her jumps to work on basic skating skills more. It must have been unbearably hard for a prestigious skater like her to restart everything from the beginning. From then, I decided to support her from the bottom of my heart.
The next day, however, she performed perfectly on her free program! She kept her promise after all. I almost lifted up the cardboard box this time with joy! I couldn't hold in my tears as I watched Mao looking up and bursting into tears in the end. She showed the epitome of never giving up. Even though she didn't get a medal, I shouted "Congratulations on beating yourself!" I was so pleased to witness that moment live. I'll never forget it!
I started watching the Olympic Games after midnight to escape from real life, but Japanese athletes sure impressed me more than I had expected. I was also very impressed by the words of Yuzuru Hanyu, a 19-year-old Japanese male figure skater after he had won the gold medal. Even after winning, he said with chagrin on his face that he was sorry for messing up a jump and that he hadn't put on his best performance. He thanked his supporters and promised he would improve his skating to become really worthy of being an Olympic champion. Watching the next day's news, I found out he was from a tsunami-stricken area and had gone through a great deal of agony and despair after his house was totally washed away. His mental struggle must have been enormous compared to mine.
Today happens to be my birthday, which means I can take another year off my age! Joking aside, having been given a lot of energy and contentment by the Olympics, I've decided to restart myself and try my best in everything I deal with. I'll enjoy every moment of my life even though hardship seems impossible for me to get over.
Ms. Miyuki Okuma（NOVA池袋東口校）
Mr. Yasushi Mori（NOVA東郷駅前校）
Ms. Michiyo Watanabe（NOVA別府校）
Mr. Mikiya Okada（NOVA奈良学園前校）
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優秀賞 Ms. Miyuki Okuma（NOVA池袋東口校）
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
I'm struggling with finding a way to Houdini a way out of my increasing workload. Actually, the work has been wearing me out. I feel quite ambivalent about my subordinates leaving the office right at five o'clock every day, but hate myself for my rude behavior and being a gritch toward them.
Houdini is the name of a famous illusionist in the U.S. who was very good at escaping, and it has been used as a verb. I was wondering if there is a Japanese man whose name has been verbified.
When I was little, I often watched this kind of magic show on TV. Performers like Houdini succeeded in getting out of a locked box with their arms in chains. As I was a pure and innocent child, there was no room for me to suspect that the show was a hoax. It was always breathtaking and I was rooting for them. Actually, such entertainment has gone the way of the dodo now.
However, if I had talent like Houdini, I'd be able to work things out and escape from my demanding job as if it were a locked box.
優秀賞 Mr. Yasushi Mori（NOVA東郷駅前校）
February 28th, 2014
This morning my wife was very angry because I hadn't written an English diary entry this month. It was completely my fault. She said, "You must write one right now!" I'd like to describe how angry she was.
In general, angry beauty is really forceful. My wife is actually cool and beautiful. Her wrath puts me in mind of a winter storm.
When she was angry, her face got white. I knew that the white face was a sign of wrath. Then her eyes became keen and made me understand the gravity of the situation! Her mouth abused me without interruption. The words expelled from her lips were just like burning knives. I was utterly dejected. Her anger continued for a couple of hours. At first, the point of her wrath was my sloth. After that, she got angry with everything about me. For example, she complained that I didn't drink my coffee at breakfast. Such a drift away from the point is a characteristic of her wrath. Finally, she forgave me with a smile. I was reminded of Dante's Divine Comedy when I saw her smile.
I should apologize to my wife.
森さんの奥さんがどんなに怒ったかをめぐる文章に心を奪われました。叙述が水際立っています。特に、"The words expelled from her lips were just like burning knives"という一節は、お見事です。
優秀賞 Ms. Michiyo Watanabe（NOVA別府校）
優秀賞 Mr. Mikiya Okada（NOVA奈良学園前校）
生き生きとした文体で、言葉の選び方もすばらしく、今回の受賞となりました。"deep leaden water"や"huge snowy rocky hills, which lit up quietly in the darkness"といったフレーズは、 プロの作家顔負けと言えるでしょう！
Ms. Maiko Kono（NOVA熊谷校）
Ms. Shigeko Yoneyama（NOVA京急川崎校）
Ms. Haruka Kawashima（NOVA新潟中央校）
Ms. Michiko Miyata（NOVA津県庁前校）
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今回の英語日記コンテストでは、冬季オリンピックや大雪といった最近の話題を扱った優れた文章を数多くご提出いただき、審査に頭を悩ませました。また、個人的な出来事や題材について書かれた方々もおり、いずれも印象的な英文となっていました。 皆さんのご努力は、相当のものであったと思われます。 このたび英語日記を提出してくださった生徒の皆さんを称えたいですし、語彙力を強化し、表現力を育むため、今後も英語日記を続けていただきたいと思います。皆さん、お疲れさまでした！