Ninety-six year-old motorcycle rider parades in celebration

Ninety-six year-old motorcycle rider parades in celebration

On November 24, at Takazato in Ogimi, Shinfuku Tamaki paraded on a motorcycle at his celebration.

November 29, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

On November 24, a celebration known locally as kajimaya was held for 96 year-old Shinfuku Tamaki at his home in Takazato, Ogimi. He obtained his driving license before Okinawa’s return to Japanese sovereignty, and has been riding a motorcycle for more than 50 years. During the celebration, he paraded around on a motor trike with his grandson Yujin on the back. Tamaki smiled at people who came to celebrate his longevity.

At Tamaki’s home, his relatives celebrating with him wore polo shirts with their house’s name, Mijigwa, printed on them. Tamaki enjoys playing with his grandchildren and said, “I’m very happy that everyone wishes me well like this.”

Tamaki, who was born in Takazato, Ogimi, was drafted during WWII and spent seven years in China and the Solomon Islands. After he returned to Ogimi via Kumamoto, he married Fumi. Now he works at an orange grove and has five children, eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Tamaki has ridden a motorcycle since getting his driving license. It is well known among locals that he goes out to the orange grove on his beloved motorcycle Kabu-go every day, and people say that seeing this keeps them cheerful.

It is the first time in 25 years that a kajimaya celebration has been held in Takazato. Tamaki said the key to good health is “not trying too hard.” He suffered from vascular disease in his 70s but is in perfect health these days. He said that in a recent check-up, the doctor told him that his body is the same as that of a 70 year-old and he is capable of living over 100 years old. Tamaki smiled as he said, “I’m going to live a long life.”

(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)

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