The Wooden Dragon

Kamiya Hideyoshi  |  3 min read


It was a perfect summer day. I was sitting on a bus on the way to an amusement park called Happy Valley, which is located in Shanghai’s countryside. During the journey, an adult was introducing the rides in the Happy Valley area. The atmosphere on the bus was very pleasant, and every student was enjoying the vacation day from school. I felt very relaxed sitting on the bus and looking through the window. I was enjoying the beautiful sight of golden fields full of wheat, and many trees beside the roads. Later, after we arrived at the park, we bought our tickets and entered Happy Valley which was filled with the din of loud machinery and excited voices. Inside the park, there were many shops on both sides of the road. Snacks such as dumplings and hot dogs were sold in many of the shops. Some shops were selling cartoon character toys and dolls. Although there were many different kinds of merchants and shops around us, none of them captured our curiosity. Rather than spend time in a shop buying a lot of baubles, my friends had more interest in riding the roller coaster. We could see a huge ride far away, which was made of colorful steel and rails above the ground.

“Put your hands up if you want to ride the roller coaster!” one of my friends shouted. He intended to guide all of us to ride the roller coaster. There were replies of “Me!”, “Me.”, “And me.” I found almost all of us wanted to ride the roller coaster. They hadn’t noticed me, but I raised my hand to agree with their actions. “No protests? Good, let’s go!” yelled our leader. Feeling a little nervous, I walked towards the ride. “Aaa…aaa…aaa!” I could hear screams above my head. “We are lucky! There are only a few people in the line,” I thought to myself. We were lining up in front of the entrance to the roller coaster, when I noticed a sign beside the handrails, and realized the name of the ride was “Wooden Dragon”. My friends were still loud and cheerful. I started to feel a nervous energy in my brain, and began to doubt my decision. “Why do you like to ride the roller coaster?”  I asked one of the girls in order to quell my fear, and got the answer: “It’s exciting! Don’t you think so?” In my own mind I was thinking, “Of course I don’t.” I had never ridden a roller coaster before. My decision was not only about my fears, but maybe the sneers from girls and boys if I didn’t ride it. Time passed slowly, I could only avoid one thing: fear or sneer. “Quick! Yoshi! Quick!” I said to myself. I made a simple decision. Finally, I was sitting on the seat on that Wooden Dragon. I heard the sound of the gate as it opened; the roller coaster began moving higher. I closed my eyes, and took a deep breath to relax my body. The wind was whistling and the cart turned the corner so quickly that I thought it would tumble down to the ground. When we reached the end, I felt a sense of courage because I faced my fears.

It was really a small thing to everyone, even to me nowadays, but what I really achieved was courage. I remember a phrase from a movie: “Fear is not real, it is just a product of thoughts you create. Danger is very real, but fear is a choice…” I still feel nervous when I see the roller coaster, but if someone asks me to ride it again, my courage will give the answer.