Supporting Group - Excellent Work (Japan)
“The challenge for making the Hundred Poems by one Hundred Poets by Braille”
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo Welfare service part-time worker
Rika Sekiba (48; female)
“Haru Sugite Natsu Kinikerashi Shirotaeno …”
The above phrase is read out, and at the same time, players' hands run on Braille cards of 100 Poems by 100 Poets. “It's mine.” All the participants are buzzing when the woman in her 70s said so. A homemaker said with a chagrined voice, “I couldn't get it again.” From another place, hearing a voice of a youth saying, “I'll get it next.”
Here is the visually impaired networking section of the Shinjuku Social Welfare Conference located in Takadanobaba, Tokyo. “Demonstration of Braille 100 Poems by 100 Poets” was held in the New Year's party. My sightless friend and I suggested the demonstration. Because our time is fully engaged in parenting while my child is also sightless, we prepared Braille board games and cards for having fun with our families with exchanged information and valuable advice given from people around us.
The friend said, “We have the cards of Braille 100 Poems by 100 Poets in our blind school, but don't play the cards.” She used to play cards having a unique rule like a “Phrase card match” at her school.
“I know there is generally a card match of Braille 100 Poems by 100 Poets at school at New Year's. I was surprised when visited there once. Very quiet there because everyone focused on what a reader read out. As soon as heard the rustle like rubbing the floor, everyone realized who won with a feeling of tension. Is it possible to experience the match with Braille cards?” My child was also going to challenge the Braille 100 Poems by 100 Poets in class at the time, so I decided to challenge what we could do.
Our family has participated in such the card match on trial in the Kansai area. However, I found many problems to be improved such as displacement of cards caused during reading, and a huge number of cards such as 100 cards.
After research, I found equipment called “Five-colored 100 Poems by 100 Poets” educationally utilized in elementary school. Twenty cards are only needed in one game. The cards are classified depending on the level. In the first level match, phrases employed in class, famous phrases, etc. are used, so that everyone can enjoy playing the cards in the match without immense knowledge about 100 Poems by 100 Poets. However, as higher the level of a player is, as more phrases even adult don't know or easily takes wrong cards erroneously. The card game can be widely enjoyed and is deep.
“This is it!” I thought so. With only 20 cards, the players may easily run their hands in a narrow shoulder-width area, and easily recognize positions of the cards. As soon as I felt sure so, I bought materials at a 100-yen store, and cut and pasted the materials to make a frame like Othello.
At the next step, our kids experimentally played the game with this frame. Because of sightless person versus sighted person, odds are given to “a user of Braille cards that such a user can arrange the cards according to his/her wishes 5 minutes before the game starts.” Actually, there is a rule to advantageously arrange the cards in a tournament. According to such a rule, the player can place his/her favorite cards near the right hand so as to pick up them, or arrange the cards in the alphabetical order.
It resulted in an even match. Very surprised!They equally matched in the card game requiring the speed. This is one of the characteristics in the 100 Poems by 100 Poets game. A good memory is needed in the game, so it is possible to pick the card if remembering the second line faster than the other people while a reader is reading out the first line.
“It's interesting!” My friend and I started to recommend this card game to acquaintances who like Japanese classics and in a Braille group. And they really liked the game after experienced.
However, the problem began here. Even if people get interested in this game, “Braille 100 Poems by 100 Poets” are sold nowhere. The number of the cards I can make by hand is limited, and the cards are made of paper, so a cardboard sags having a bond dried over time, so that it becomes difficult to place the card there.
One of the staff in the visually impaired networking section described above talked to me at the time. “Ms. Sekiba, this is absolutely accepted by people. Both sightless and sighted people can have fun with it, and people losing the sight due to some reasons can practice to read by touch.” After I however told the staff I could not make a large quantity of frames by myself, the staff widely appealed to volunteers registered on the Social Welfare Conference. After that, we soon started to have meetings with volunteers who specialize in wood work and sightless users basically about the touch and usability, and after two months, we made five sets of the card game in a case for a match. Our kids were so happy and said, “This may allow to have team competition in groups of five each using 100 cards!” Aha. Sounds like fun. Anyway, the kids were not interested in only the cards at home, however, fought over the cards to a whole generation of people, so that they sounded enthusiastic. As a parent, I'm happy to see my child has fun joining in the wave of exchange in the wake of 100 Poems by 100 Poets.
I could not have done it alone. Not only the help and advice from the community, professionals and sightless people but also participants with smile supported me a lot and contributed to the success. I'd like to widen a circle of friends and continue to strengthen the relationship.