Her mother knew she was already dying, and she wanted to teach her daughter everything she knew so that the little girl can be independent at a very early age.
5-year-olds are often seen playing at home or with their friends at pre-school. This is the age in everyone’s life that they get to enjoy being under the care of their parents, and are provided with the best food, shelter, and education their parents can ever give. But for Hana Yasutake, this is the time to take care of her father and do household chores.
Hana’s mom Chie knew she was dying when her cancer recurred. But before she could leave the world, she wanted her little daughter to learn cooking so that she can survive on her own. “Hana-chan, knowing how to cook is important in your life. I would teach you how to handle knives and do household chores. Your education is not complete without knowing these survival skills. As long as you’re healthy and independent, you can survive anywhere,” she said in her blog.
Just when Hana turned 4 years old and old enough to hold a knife, Chie taught her cooking. “As a birthday present, I gave an apron to Hana,” wrote Chie.
“Whether I have cancer or not, I’m supposed to die first. It can’t be the other way around. This is why I have to die without any regrets,” Chie wrote.
“I want to make my daughter able to do as much as she can by herself,” another entry from Chie’s blog said. “I just want to help her so that one day, when she becomes independent, she can take care of herself.”
In 2008, Chie left 5-year-old Hana and her husband, Shingo.
Knowing her mother was watching her from afar, Hana worked hard in improving the skills her mom taught her. And at a very tender age of five, Hana already knew how to cook whole meals. She remembers everything that her mother had taught her. She wrote a letter entitled “To Mama” for her late mother and mentor. It wrote: “I want to tell you something. I can make a whole bento now. Aren’t you surprised? I don’t cry anymore. I’m doing my best.”
Hana feeds and walks her pet dog, and has piano lessons before she goes to pre-school. As soon as she goes back home after school, Hana-chan does laundry, fold them, clean the bathtub and the house, and even cook dinner for her father.
This inspired Hana’s father Shingo to write a book entitled “Hana-chan No Miso Shiru”. The book has now become a best-seller in Japan and is also adapted into a movie with the same title.