Jury’s Review
Light which Braille leads
Writer Mr. Toshizo Namba

“Being Supported and Encouraged to Live” by Tadayuki Sugimoto, winner of Otsuki Award, describes the author’s experience of losing his sight in the prime of his professional career as a result of a surgery to remove a tumor developed in his head. With the encouragement of his daughter, however, he decides to learn Braille after leaving the hospital. Moreover, he takes on the challenge of participating in a speech contest as well as a marathon. Having learned how helpful a guide dog is, he starts living with one; he then studies diligently and manages to obtain licenses to practice as a masseuse and acupuncturist. He now wishes to get a job so that he can contribute and return the favor to society. He sets his goals for the new chapter of life and achieves one by one through steady efforts. With his mental strength and ability to take action, his future is promising; the reader can feel his passion that will drive him to take on more challenges.

“Stories of Braille and My Family” by Megumi Suzuki, winner of Excellent Work Award in the Adult Group: All the Braille-related episodes about her family members are heart-warming and provoke a smile. The story about the discovery of Braille paper from 40 years ago that survived the earthquake is also moving.

“A Ray of Hope,” by Miyuki Ara a winner of Fine Work Award: The author loses her hearing and sight, but in the abyss of despair and loneness, she sees a ray of hope: It is to learn Braille. Her will to learn makes the impossible possible and gives her the power to live. This essay teaches the reader the value of hard work.

“Braille Helped Me Find My Purpose in Life” by Batbayar Enkhmandakh, a winner of Fine Work Award: Coming from Mongolia, Mr. Enkhmandakh overcomes the subtle differences between the Mongolian Braille and Japanese Braille; this leads him to attain six notions. He then becomes aspired to introduce the knowledge and skills he has acquired in Japan to his country, setting a path for the future. I have a feeling that he will serve as a bridge between the two countries.

“To Have the Courage to Take a Step Forward” by Kento Ogata, winner of Excellent Work Award in the Student Group: Driven by his desire to play in a band, the author moves from Fukuoka to Tokyo, where he looks for band mates on the Internet and dreams to become a professional drummer. After reading this piece, the reader feels refreshed and inspired by his courage and initiative.

“Expanding World” by Sayaka Nakamura, a winner of Fine Work Award: Recommended by her teacher, the author starts learning vocal music, and it makes her world feel expended. She wins a prize, practices further, and continues her efforts toward the next big goal. The essay conveys the author’s strong determination to work hard on vocal music.

“My Thoughts on Calligraphy” by Hiyo Nishimoto, a winner of Special Award: Described in this essay are the joy of leaning calligraphy, the author’s regret for having lied, and a promise she makes to herself not to lie again. The writing evokes an image of her practicing calligraphy as well as the gentle touch of a brush and smell of Indian ink.

“Teacher, I Wanna Tell You That...” by Taichi Hirabayashi, a winner of Special Award: The reader encounters sincere joy of discovery and wonders throughout the piece, which provoke a smile.

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