Students Group - Special Prize (awarded to elementary school and middle school students)(Japan)
“Braille and Me”
Kirara Tono (9 years old, female)
Third year of the elementary school as the School for Special Needs Education for the Visually Impaired in Morioka

I am studying in Braille. I was in kindergarten when I first learnt Braille. At that time, I did not like studying Braille. I was a little bit nervous about whether I could learn so many characters before I became a first-grader. But the more I learnt Braille, the happier I became.
How happy I was when I first typed my name by Perkins Brailler! I was thrilled to learn how to type names of each of my family members. I remember how enthusiastic I was when I was able to play last and first in Braille with my teachers and my mother and I rapidly learnt 50 Japanese alphabets.
I wrote a letter in Braille for the first time on the mother’s day when I was a first-grader, and I remember how much my mother enjoyed my letter. Through learning Braille, I was able to freely read books and write letters. These gave me confidence in me.
When I read a book for my mother, she was really surprised at how smoothly I could read the book, and since then, she worked really hard in reading Braille not to lose to me. When I was a second-grader, my teachers held a Meet to Read Braille Fast, called “Go-Go, Sui-Sui Challenge.” I never wanted to lose to either my teachers or my mother, I worked hard and I became able to read Braille really fast.
It was in this meet when a feeling not to lose to anyone occurred first time in my mind. I thank my teachers to have held the meet at the thought of us to enjoy learning Braille.
Now, I hope that Braille would be disseminated more and more throughout Japan.
First, I think I would be happy to have maps and route maps in Braille at stations.
I see elders who study in the junior high school and senior high school and want to commute by train. It would be really convenient for me if there are presentations in Braille at stations. At stations near the school, there are Braille blocks on steps, which are really convenient. There are stations with rate schedules and direction boards in Braille. In the future I want to investigate the conditions of stations by myself. I think I would be happy if I could go to various places by train and go shopping.
Second, I want shop keepers to mark prices on their commercial products in Braille. If I could know how much they cost, I could freely do my shopping. When my family went out and I was alone at home, I cooked salad by myself and served them when they returned. They really enjoyed my salad. Next time, I want to go out shopping by myself and fix pan-fried noodles or curry and rice for my family. I grin myself imagining surprised faces of each one of my family members.
I become cheerful as I learnt Braille. Things I could do by myself have increased and resulted in my confidence. I want to read Braille much more quickly. I want to read various books, know many things and learn many things. And it is my dream to study at the university. I would like to make efforts step by step and day by day towards my dream.


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