Japanese Category Review
Naoto Otsuki
For this year again, we received remarkable works which ring very true to the heart.
I extend my heartfelt congratulations to award winners.

Otsuki Award “With the Cane of Angel” Ms. Yuki Kobayashi
Beautiful scenic expressions shine throughout the work and a strong will towards the future. When reading, I was startled many times. I have no words when thinking how much the fear and uneasiness was while losing eye sights. However, in such a situation, Ms. Kobayashi put forth the courage and took the first step with a white walking stick. I assume that her own act served as a start, and people around her responded to the courage and started to give a helping hand to her. With the tenderness exchanged softly in the course of her daily lives, I felt like my mind was cleansed. Painfully darling sceneries which will eventually disappear from her eye sights. All the more reason, she would like to treasure sceneries now seen with her sight and the moments, and express gratitude to people around as much as possible. Ms. Kobayashi who has such sweetness and strengths, you are all right. I wholeheartedly hope that the “angel’s white walking stick” that has brought her happy encounters will keep guiding her to the heartwarming future.

Adult Group
Excellent Work  “Braille Broadened My World”  Mr. Bolot Kyzy Shirin
Through his rich sentences, I understood that he has been earnestly learning braille, Japanese language and massage, and I was very impressed. I could detect that his encounter with braille has changed Bolot san’s life. I think not every person can follow the path in which Bolot san came to Japan at his own will and started learning massage, acting proactively. The reason why he has been able to keep making so much efforts to that degree must be because the pain that he was unable to answer when asked what you want to become in the future wells up and also his strong wish to have dreams. I hope that he keeps having dreams and keeps fulfilling them.

Fine Work  “The Arrival of Spring”  Ms. Miyako Ishii
It is like I can picture the way Ms. Ishii has captured how to cook “Kugi-ni” using own senses and enjoy cooking it, thanks to her detailed expressions. Also, what I was impressed with was her forward looking stance in which she believes in her own senses and successfully cooked “Kugi-ni” nothing changed as before relying on sounds and smells while she is blind. I bet that her family members and friends are looking forward to the arrival of spring noticed by Ms. Ishii. I hope that she cherishes her own senses and forward-looking stance continuously and deliver delicious “Kugi-ni” to her family and friends every spring.

Student Group
Excellent Work  “Thank you, Radio”  Mr. Kazuki Matsumura
In these days, we can easily exchange with unknown others through letters, photos, etc. using SNS. However, we cannot necessarily say that the existence of the radio has been overshadowed by them for many people working midnight, early morning or outside, etc. Mr. Matsumura candidly expressed the change occurred in his mind regarding the radio, from a “device to one-sidedly listen” to a “warmhearted link between people” after he dared to send a message to a radio program, and I was very excited while reading it. The conversation made using natural voices through a medium called radio must be more helpful to read the other’s heart overwhelmingly than the exchanges made using letters. He received from the radio personality cordial words, “Let’s exchange those seen and unseen of own each other” instead of anticipated word of encouragement. It must be an exchange realizable only by the radio. The skillfulness of expressions used in the introduction of the episodes and the contents reached deep in my mind.

Special Award  “Things I Learned from Harvesting Peas”  Ms. Maho Kawamura
It seems that she had a wonderful first-time experience of harvesting garden pears in a farm. I believe it is important to feel by touching them as to how foods we usually eat are cultivated in a farm and how they are harvested.
Ms. Kawamura actually took garden pears and realized that pears inside the pods were bigger than expected. I believe that there are many more things that Ms. Kawamura can obtain surprising experiences in this world. Although all of things touched for the first time may not necessarily bring about joyful and happy experiences, I can only hope that she will keep her desire to actively touch on things which interest her continuously.

Supporting Group 
Excellent Work  “New Communication”  Mr. Tsubasa Ootaka
I was very impressed with his stance to earnestly learn finger braille in order to communicate with a deaf-blind student who had been transferred from other school to the high school department of the school for blind where Mr. Ootaka attends. Completely unlike family members, teachers, etc. who necessarily provide support, the support expressed here is the support based on pure feelings that he wants to help, communicate and become a friend. His sentence expresses are forthright in a manner particular to high school students, and thanks to his detailed expressions of the time spent in a bus on a school excursion, I can well understand how the two has become close each other gradually through finger braille and their joy to get along very well with each other. I hope that the two will keep deepening the wonderful friendship, making the lives of the two fulfilling.

Fine Work   “Age 69, My Father is a First-year Student at a Blind School”  Ms. Masako Yamada
Starting with the startling expressions at the top, I feel that each one of the episodes are based on actual experiences so much so that I can picture each episode, and I could feel in the same manner as he did. Also, because of the words written carefully, I was drawn into her essay through to the end. I believe that her husband met remarkable teachers, and with help from his friends and with his own efforts, he was able to obtain the certification of completion of the first-year course, but I assume that the support by Masako san was the biggest. I was very impressed by her great love. Also, I was struck by how Masako san had become more and more strong and reliable. Since the two are forward-looking, I am confident that the two will keep overcoming difficulties. Further, it reminded me again that efforts will never let you down.

Lyrics Award
“Lots of Memories”  Ms. Yui Tsujimoto

I can well understand how Ms. Tsujimoto is living in a healthy and lively manner. After she entered the school, although she became nerves in the beginning, she worked hard on home assignments, enjoyed school excursions, and became able to use a stapler. She expressed various events she actually experienced at the school and what she felt at each time animatedly so much so that I can imagine her expressions. Also, I feel the power to let readers of her work cheered up. It is no wonder that she will experience many new things in the future. Although she may sometimes encounter painful experiences, I expect her to overcome each with her sensitivity and forward-looking stance and accumulate precious experiences as she grows.


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