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Music Braille Transcriber’s Pick

A Consolation Trip with Books

 

2022.03.07

 

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“What’s your job?” “I am a music braille transcriber.” “Sorry?” “Music braille transcriber.” “Music what?” “Braille transcriber.” “I’m sorry I couldn’t catch it. What do you do for a living?” “Braille transcription. Braille is a form of written language for blind people, and transcription is to put something into written or printed form.” “Oh, I see now. What is it about specifically?”
Swanist. A newly coined term meaning a jobless female was first used in a scene describing the writer Eun Jin-Seul’s job. Is it a coincidence that episodes of me trying to explain my job came to my mind as I read through?
As a music braille transcriber, the book It’s Okay, It Does Not Bother Me, published by The Tree of Thoughts and written by a blind pianist, is interesting enough to draw my attention. Also, something else touched my heart as I read through the book. Even a person who cannot connect with a person with visual disabilities, this book would help all the people living life. It’s Okay, It Does Not Bother Me opens up a heavy bag filled with life stories, lets people talk about whose bag is heavier and who had more challenges in life. One would feel pride in overcoming all such challenges and think how miserable life was at the same time. In the midst of all that, the book gives us the energy to live another day by telling us how one’s life is as one struggles.
“We should practice embracing the difference more generously, naturally, and often at least from now on because we are only different, not wrong. Then, when a society is mature enough to respect and listen to individual differences and unique ideas, and when every class of people can harmonize within the society, it will be like a symphony with coordinated and beautiful harmony.”
Most of the book plainly describes hardships a person with visual impairment faces as she lives her life. These outspoken descriptions become a medium of positive change in perspectives for people, helping them see that disability is not something wrong but rather something different. Even when disregarding such perspective change, when the society evolves into a one where people can understand each other being different through the book, I believe the world would become a better place where people would hold hands together rather than cross swords against each other. I repeated the phrase several times as it helped me look back on values forgotten due to the value being something too natural even to recognize.
‘That might be the case,’ ‘I guess that’s how people perceive that,’ or ‘Didn’t know that this could be that uncomfortable’ are the possible perspective changes enabled by the book. It takes you on a delightful journey that gets you to use the hidden side of your brain that you have not used for a long time.

 

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In the fall of 2019, as I got as sensitive as a string soon to break, I had to take a day off and visit Coffee Laon Library nearby. That’s where I first met the book Le Voyage Quotidien published by The Book Life.
The writer decides to travel to Tokyo for a month while his friends are busy going to school. Reading how freely the author goes around the world. I thought, “Wow, it’s impressive that he went on a trip by himself.” It also reminded me of my one-and-a-half-month trip to the US in my mid-20s. I asked around when I couldn’t find the direction and was daring enough to ask a police officer to take me to certain places. After reading the book, I also felt sorrow, thinking, “Where did that adventurous young girl go?”
The book has a phrase, saying “‘여행 (yeo-haeng; traveling)’ is an acronym for ‘ (yeo) 기서 행 (haeng) 복할 것 (enjoying the moment).’”
I do not know why that line made me cry. Why was a woman in her 40s reading a book at the corner of a cafe early in the morning crying her heart out?
Before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, I had a hard time pulling myself together to stop my racing heart from thinking of going on an unplanned trip as the writer did. Two years after the pandemic, each letter of the book gave me a lump in my heart, pity, longing, and hope that someday I could go on a trip like the author in the book.
Seeing that my reviews on both the first and second book finish with imagining myself being on a trip, I guess I was yearning for some travel. When it is hard to go on a short trip due to COVID-19, you can have a great time as you follow the writers’ footsteps through books.

 

 


Written by Yang Min-Jung (Music braille transcriber and director of a music braille transcription team at the Siloam Center for the Blind)

 

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Yang Min-Jung

#Music Braille Transcriber#Pianist#Blind#Trip#COVID-19
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