Special Prize (For Elementary and Middle School Students) (Japan)
ďMy Life with BrailleĒ
6th Grade, Osaka Prefectural Special Needs Education School for the Visually Impaired
Yuuki Kudoh

I go to a school for the visually impaired and have been studying Braille since the 1st grade. Before I learned Braille, I had to ask my father and mother to read to me. Since I started to learn it, I realized that many things around me had Braille on them. When I began to read Braille written in the elevators and on the handrail of the steps in hospitals and train stations, I got interested in what kind of things had Braille on them. It became much more fun to go outside.
When I went shopping, I learned that even shampoo bottles, liquor bottles, and ketchup and mayonnaise containers had Braille written on them.
I also discovered some inconveniences, like bicycles and cars being parked on top of Braille blocks on the sidewalks. Escalators donít have Braille on them, and itís not on the plastic bottles used for teas and soft drinks people often drink.
I think many more things need Braille. For example, if there was Braille on the menus of restaurants, I would know the price of everything and I could eat out with an easy mind. If there were a Braille newspaper, I would know about the TV programs I want to watch. If more products had Braille on them, shopping would be more fun. And if there were a Karaoke machine using Braille, it would be great.
I think my life will be more wonderful when Braille is used on more and more things around me.
Another thing I want is a Braille display at train stations. When sighted people take the train, they can find out what time the train will come from the electronic display. We canít. Thatís why I want a Braille display on the platform. With that, our wish to take a trip by ourselves would come true.
When we go outside of a station, there is usually a map of the surrounding area. For example, if I wanted to go out of the station and go to an electronics store to buy a stereo, if there was a machine in front of the map with Braille input, I could type where I wanted to go it could tell me how to get there with using a voice... I want this kind of a navigation machine to be developed for us. Iím now in 6th grade. I want to study a lot to become a scientist who invents many useful machines for the visually impaired.


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