Being with an Autistic Friend in a 5th Grade Japanese School

 Being with an Autistic Friend in a Japanese School

Poetic Auto Ethnographer: Hina Kimura

Participant: Japanese student reflecting on her experiences with her autistic friend

Project: Responding to autism

Source: Poetic auto ethnography facilitated by Dr. Fang-Yu Liao

Grade 5

On a very sunny day in the morning

Teacher is taking attendance 

People are still talking 

Someone just came late

Nothing different from every day until


A girl came in to my class

A new student!


It suddenly lighted my boring life


I want to talk to her

I want to know about her



Hey, what’s your name?






Which city are you from?






What do you like to do?





The calm between us is heavy, like a huge rock. but somehow, not uncomfortable.

People are making noise background as always. but I like to stay in this quiet moment.

Maybe she is nervous today, Tomorrow will be different

She doesn’t like Onions

She has not spoken any words yet

I have been talking to her every day but no replies


It has been already a month

She should be already used to this school!


The day suddenly came beside my worries


I want to hear her voice

I want to communicate with her



Hey, which one do you like better, dogs or cats?



 … “nod”

!! dogs??




Me too! I have dogs do you wanna come to my house?




Wow wow wow she answered!

She replied with a gesture and a little bit of smile


    What kind of food you don’t like?

               Mushrooms                      Peppers

Carrots                                                           Onions 


      Cucumbers                                         ………!!


Junior high school

In the new environment with new people is always exciting

A special day with a good start until I found out that


She is alone!

She acts exactly like the day she moved to my city!!


My mind suddenly changed from happy to conflict


I want to keep talking with new friends

But I don’t want to leave her alone



Hey hina, do you wanna be in our group?

                                           Yeah! Uh, can she be in the same group too?

      Ah, okay…, hey! nice to meet you’







       Haha… maybe she is shy?’

                                                                     Well… haha



She is not shy

This is just how she is when she meets new people

Do not misunderstand her

Once she gets used to them, she will show herself

But when? Will she take a month to communicate again?

Or will it be shorter this time?

I want more people to know about her


I am worried

Third year in Junior high school

Time to decide the step for the future

The gap in our grade has been great


It is impossible to go to the same high school like this

Her beautiful handwriting is affecting in the exam


I suddenly feel anxious about our future


She needs me

I have to support her in high school!



     Hey, you can fill all the exam if you have enough time, right?


                            … yeah

     Then you need to write faster.

You cannot keep erasing when you don’t like how it looks





Otherwise, we have to separate the high school!


                   …It’s better to take time than writing like the way I don’t like




Why she prefers to take time to write than filling the exam?

What is the point of writing it beautifully in the exam?

I don’t ger her

I don’t get her at all


Will she do fine alone in high school?



People are getting more stressed before the entrance exam of high school

It was an ordinary day until she told me


…I have been bullied

By some girls


I felt like a meteorite hit my head in sudden


I need to protect her

But I cannot be like this forever!



    Do you know why they bully you?

                                      Girls said I am useless and too dependent on you


    You are not! You are getting independent, even made some friends so far!

                                                  I am fine, we are almost to graduate


    Do you need my support?

                                                                No, I can handle it



This is the first time I heard she said something like this


Now she knows how to make more friends

Now she knows people who understand her


Now I know she was no longer need my support

Now I know it is time for us to develop our own future


We both stand on the ground

The calm between us is not as heavy as before.