Adult Group Excellent Work (Japan)
Braille Is Letters That Reflect Your Mind
Chiba Prefecture
Kazuko Nakamura Manager of a massage parlor (62; female)

In Noda City, Chiba Prefecture, I serve as instructor in a course in PC operation for visually challenged people. I believe that as a person who has the same problem as participants in the course, I can get closer to them and instruct them from their standpoint. The situations of participants are very diverse. My strong supporter is Braille manual that I put on my knees. I’d have a difficulty explaining some unclear points if I have to rely solely on my memory. The Braille manual helps me give correct instructions on PC operation. I have included my own table of contents and self-written pages in the manual to answer any questions quickly.It is welcome news that various tools are being developed to improve the convenience of visually challenged people. Nevertheless, I think it is still important to use Braille letters as a valuable support.
I often recommend participants in my course to learn Braille, and offer to serve as instructor in Braille too.
 
Many people have resigned to learn Braille. Certainly, using Braille needs sharpening the sense of touch to read something by touching with your finger. Effort is required to acquire an ability to read Braille. While making this effort, people think that they would be spared this trouble if their eyesight weren’t impaired. Patience is required of them. But they will surely be rewarded by being patient.
A participant to whom I taught Braille carries PR magazines and a bus timetable, translated into Braille, in a bag for timely use. As this example shows, Braille can be used in nearly all situations.
In my case, I am a real fashion buff. Does Braille have any relationship with fashion? Actually, it’s turned a valuable supporter for me.
I lost my eyesight completely due to the pigmentary degeneration of the retina. It’s precisely because I lost my vision that I now greatly enjoy matching clothe colors that I once was able to see.
There is a small secret in this. I put memos written in Braille in the pockets of suits and jackets so that I can tell their colors. For example, such words as “Pinkish” and “Grayish” are written on these memos. I do the same thing for bags and other small articles. Though I know the color of an article at the time I buy it, I become unsure if I leave it unused for some time. Also, I put each shirt in a zippered bag, and attach a memo to it, on which its color and shape are written in Braille. As for cosmetics, the color of lipstick is an important point of makeup. Whether you use a pink or orange lipstick makes a great difference in terms of the air you exude; So, I put marks on lipsticks, which indicate their colors in Braille.
You’d probably say that I’d better ask someone about the color? But the fact is that I don’t always have someone at my side to whom I can ask. Horun, my guide dog, can guide me safely, but isn’t a good consultant in makeup.
So, Braille memos are indispensable for me to dress up. They allow me to go out, feeling proud of my appearance.
I also love writing very much. It is a valuable hobby for me. I will keep writing even after I have become bedridden and have to give up doing many things in my old age. I feel very happy when I express my thoughts in letters.
In my garden, wisterias and peonies have begun to bloom. The flowers sway in tender spring winds. I feel a great joy when I meet these flowers by touching them with my finger, and smell them. I then feel like writing about them. It often occurs to me that the flowers are asking me to make a record of their life, as they have bloomed with a great effort. Spring, summer, autumn, and winter - each season visits me wearing their own clothes and accompanied by particular sounds. I now can see some things that wouldn’t be visible if I hadn’t lost all my vision. Enlisting all my senses except vision, I can certainly see them with the “eyes” in my mind, which exceed my blind eyes.
When I make a manuscript, I enter letters on my PC. To read the works of other people, I use books in Braille. First, I borrow a tape on which a book is recorded to get its overview. Then, I begin to read the book translated into Braille. When I read a book in Braille slowly, by touching it with my finger, I hope that I can perceive the intimate feelings of the writer with my sensitivity, not only from sentences but by reading between the lines. When a sentence has moved me, Braille allows me to read it slowly many times, until it is deeply ingrained in my mind. Also, I can think about the sentence for a while to get a deeper and richer image from it. Braille is really fascinating letters.
Yes - Braille is not a mere tool to communicate information.It is letters that reflect your mind.

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