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April IAY Graduation, Dec. 20th, 2001
Speech by Akiko Yanagisawa, April IAY internship student

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Hello, everyone. My name is Akiko Yanagisawa. I'm from Japan. We should proud of our nationality. Raise your hands, from Japan.

Akiko Yanagisawa expresses the spirit of ChristmasDo you remember the first day when we came to Manhattan College? Anna was pregnant; I was pregnant with hope. I can remember, that seems like yesterday. But it's not the same as what we were in April. Now we have so many experiences. Anna is a mother, now. We're masters now.

In this eighth month, my emotions couldn't take a rest. I used my passions every single day. New York is the center of the world. We can see, smell, hear, touch, feel and have to do with the history.

Sometimes, I was made to cry, angry, embarrassed, disappointed and disgusted. Sometimes, someone's smile helped me so much. My friends cheered me up and made me happy.

Have you ever heard the phrase, "It's up to New York"? I think there is everything in New York. I had a bad experience. I got stolen my wallet. I got down and walked down the street. It was so cold day.

There is a stand in front of the Starbucks near the 15th Street station. The guy who sits down in this stand and sells newspapers, magazines and chocolates and some sodas, he knew me because I'm addicted to coffee and chocolate-chip cookies. I cannot go to Manhattan without Starbucks.

And he spoke to me, "Hey, what's up?" And I said, "I'm not fine, cause I was stolen my wallet."

And he said, "Oh, no, I'm so sorry. Especially the end of this year, someone picked up wallet, you have to take care."

And I said, "Yes, I was so stupid. I was so careless."

And after that he said, "Oh," and he gave me five dollars and big smile. It made me so warm. I was moved. After that, I saw a guy who hits the pots and pans like a drums and garbage cans at the 42nd Street Times Square.

He made rhythm and rhythm and rhythm. Have you ever seen that? And his smile was so nice. I wanted to show my favor and I had only changes of coffee and cookies, like one dollar and some changes. But I thought the guy who is in the stand showed me a favor, so now it's my turn, and I put the rest of my all money into the bucket.

I could be so nice. My heart was warm. Now I knew life is what I make.

If you know someone's smile makes you happy, and if you want to be happy, you should make someone happy and smile, make someone smile. That's the thing what I learned in New York.

Don't forget this eight months is not the dream. This is the truth, it's the reality. You can do anything what you like. It's up to you. Love and peace, thank you.