Sisters use same school bag for 12 years with grandmother’s help

Sisters use same school bag for 12 years with grandmother’s help

On March 20, in Okinawa City, Yuki Shimabukuro (left) and her grandmother Rei Takao smiled as they held the school bag, which ended its 12 years of service.

March 25, 2013 Tsubaki Mekaru of the Ryukyu Shimpo

On March 21, Yuki Shimabukuro graduated from Kitami Elementary School in Okinawa City. The school bag that she had with her that day had previously been used by her sister Haruka, and between them it had carried school books for a total of 12 years. Every time the bag needed to be repaired, her grandmother Rei Takao would fix it. “Thank you for the last 12 years,” Yuki said to the bag and to her grandmother. The Shimabukuro sisters have always been close. When Haruka was in the upper grades at school, Yuki wanted to use her school bag, so Haruka looked after it well.

By the time that Yuki entered the fourth grade, the edge of the cover of the bag was a little tattered and a shoulder strap was broken, but Yuki said, “My grandma fixed it straightaway.” Her grandmother said, “Stitching the leather was hard work.”

Sometimes her friends made fun of her because she had a patched up satchel, but she just explained to them that it was something precious that she had received from her older sister, and kept on using it. Yuki said recently people commented that her using something old was a good thing to do.

With Yuki graduating from elementary school, the bag will go into retirement. Her grandmother said, “This experience may have given Yuki an appreciation of the value of old things.” Haruka, who is now studying at outside Okinawa, and has her eyes set on going on to study at university, sent a message to Yuki stating “I’m really glad that you’ve looked after the satchel.”

“Every time I used the bag, I somehow felt that I was together with my sister. Thanks to my grandmother’s help I was able to use the bag for six years. I’m grateful to everyone.”

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

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