When we lived in foreign countries, we used to come back to Japan every summer. Summer was my favorite season. I was always waiting for it to come. In Japan, my grandparents would always take me everywhere and my cousins always came over, and we played some games together.
When I was in lower elementary school, I wanted to do something new in Japan. I was enjoying playing games with my cousins every year, but I felt like I was missing something. One day, I saw a poster about an omatsuri, a Japanese festival, near my grandparent’s house.
I was really excited about it, and I decided to go. Since I wasn’t allowed to go out by myself when I was little, I told my mom about the omatsuri.
“Mom, they are doing omatsuri next week. I really wanna see what it’s like!”
“It’s nothing. All they do is to sell unhealthy foods and some toys. Besides, it’s too hot to go out, so I’m not going.”
I was disappointed, but I didn’t give up. I rushed to my cousin’s house.
“Mai, do you want to go to the omatsuri with me?” I asked.
“Yeah, sure, let’s go!”
I half expected that she would say no, so I was excited!
On the day of the omatsuri, we went to the shrine a little early. Everything was new to me. They were selling foods like candied apples, cotton candy, yakisoba noodles and rice crackers. I wanted to eat all of those, but I had something that I really wanted to do. It was kingyo sukui, goldfish scooping.
I ran to the kingyo sukui area, and I got a scooper. Most of the goldfish were red, but a few of them were black. I first scooped a small red one. The scooper is made of paper, so I thought it would easily. When I had scooped about 5 goldfish, the scooper was still okay. By the time I scooped about 10 goldfish, it had a small hole in the middle, but I still could scoop some. When I scooped the 25th goldfish, it ripped. So the man put my 25 goldfish in a bag for me, and then I took all of them home. They looked so colorful and I was satisfied with my goldfish scooping.
After I got home, I put them in a plastic container. They looked so packed, but I thought they would be okay. The next day when I woke up, most of them didn’t move. They were floating on the surface of the water. I was shocked. At first, I thought that they were just sleeping, but no matter how much I waited for them to wake up, they didn’t move even an inch. I realized that they were dead. I kept crying all day. With my cousin’s help, I picked up each one of them, and put them in a hole that we had dug for them.
Just as I almost dumped out the water, I saw two of them were actually swimming in the water. I was surprised. I left them in the container and added more water.
One was gold, so I called him Kin-chan, which means gold in Japanese. The other was black, so I called him Kuro-han, which means black. I still didn’t get why the 23 of my goldfish died in one day, and I didn’t want to make the same mistake again. I researched about why they died, and how to raise goldfish. Then I finally found out that they require a large amount of oxygen. So I put in a special stone that releases oxygen, and I took good care of Kin-chan and Kuro-chan everyday.
When I first went to omatsuri, I was only thinking about myself. I never thought about the goldfish when I was scooping them. I also regret that I put them in such a small container. What I learned from my experience was to never forget that they are living and to never try to raise them without knowing anything about them. If I were to raise goldfish again or some other living things, I would first research things like what they need to live and what kind of food they eat.