Excellence of Our Mind's Eye
Toshizo Nanba, novelist

For the Otsuki Award winner Yoshinobu Gomi's "Flowers Are Not Only For Watching," I felt really comfortable with his description of the flow of his psychological relaxation to appreciate cherry blossoms with the lapse of time. His accurate depiction of feelings and scenes and his rich sensitivity enchanted me, making me feel as if I were there. I can hear the sound of heels and the singing of birds and see the smiling face of a women saying hello. "What matters is not whether you can see or not but whether you have a good mind of enjoying your life or not" is the essence of Mr. Gomi's essay, and I can vividly imagine how fully he leads his life. I am made keenly aware of the excellence of our mind's eye.

For Excellent Work in the Senior Group "Marguerites" by Masae Kubota, her essay gives a detailed description of how she made rolled eggs and how she made dresses on a trial-and-error basis. The readers can be reassured that the effort of learning braille produces sure results and that such fulfillment creates self-confidence. Her challenging spirit is amazing.

There are two fine work essays. For "Something I Treasure" by Junko Ato, the readers learn that she spent years of desperation after she lost her vision upon graduation from college and then realized the importance of standing on her own and started living with a seeing-eye dog. The dog taught her the "pleasure of living." After I read her essay, warmth of heart remained in me.

For "Equal Opportunity" by Yukari Ishida, harsh words her mother uttered to her were the basis of her indignation about the attitude of a government negating the potential of the visually impaired children and depriving them of the opportunity of making efforts. Her focused attention and passion for justice sounds very pure.

For Excellent Work in the Junior Group "Wings of Flying Fish" by Rui Katsumata, she came to know flying fish for the first time in her life when she was welcome by a yakitori restaurant she and her mother went into by chance in Tokyo which they visited from Niigata to take medical treatment. That experience showed her a new world and encouraged her to meet many new people. The last sentence is filled with hope and thus very impressive.

For Fine Work "Nothing Special" by Yuki Chiyoya, he clarified who he is, what he can do and what he cannot do, and his will to live a full life is expressed in the beautifully written essay. I felt a comfortable reflection of his determination in the essay.

There are two essays selected for the Special Prize. One of them is "Different Me" by Ayaka Yazawa. Her sadness of being alone was replaced by her joy of making friends, and she learned there were things she can do even without vision from her experience with the school festival. Her determination to lead a forward-looking life makes us feel very nice and fresh. For "Toward My Dream" by Rika Sugata, she learned to read braille music notation and took piano and violin lessons. She made friends and has a dream of being a music teacher. The essay directly expresses her gratitude to voluntary braille translators and her music teachers, and that sounds very favorable.


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