Elderly woman loses fingers

There was a shocking piece of news today about a woman who threw her 2-year-old child from the 11th floor of an apartment building, but I thought I’d spare you from that horrifying story and instead tell you about a woman who lost four fingers after walking her dog.

Here’s a snippet of what the Mainichi News reported:

A 95-year-old woman lost four fingers when a dog leash she was holding got caught in a moving elevator with the dog outside, Tokyo police said.

When the elevator started moving upwards, the rope she was holding in her left hand got caught and four fingers on her hand were severed. The dog slipped out of his collar and was not injured.

At the time of the accident, the woman was on her way home to her 10th-floor apartment. When a man got out of the elevator at the eighth floor, the dog suddenly followed him out. The woman tried to pull the dog back inside, but the door shut and the elevator started moving upward, police said.

My initial reaction after reading that wasn’t one of horror, but rather “Wow! A 95-year old was out walking her dog?! That’s awesome!”

Elderly people in Japan are amazing. They have so much energy and in my experience they are incredibly friendly and welcoming. My wife’s chain-smoking grandmother, hunched over like Yoda, is a prime example. She refuses to use a wheelchair when she goes out, opting rather to stroll along at her own leisurely pace, and although she takes care of her health (besides the smoking), she often jokes about how she could pop off at any minute.

On my daily commute to work, I often see groups of elderly people out playing croquet or sitting in the shade of trees playing Mah Jong with their friends. Hiking through the mountains seems to be popular, too.

Since it’s quite common in Japan to reach close to a hundred years of age, I wonder what it would be like retiring at 65, knowing you’ve got another 30 years to do whatever you like? In reality though, more and more people are choosing to work well beyond the age of retirement.

I’ll wrap up this post with an excerpt from another Mainichi News article, one of my favorites from the last few weeks.

Japan’s oldest man, Tomoji Tanabe, blew out candles on his birthday cake with his 3-year-old great-grandchild at his home in southern Japan on Monday, celebrating his 111th birthday, his family said.

Tanabe was presented with flowers and a letter of congratulations from Miyakonojo city Mayor Makoto Nagamine on Monday — a national holiday for the Respect for the Aged Day in Japan, Motoori said.

Tanabe now lives at his home with his son Motoori, 66, and his family. He has eight children, 25 grandchildren and 54 great-grandchildren.

The number of Japanese living beyond 100 has almost quadrupled in the past 10 years, with the once-exclusive centenarian club expected to exceed 28,000 this year, the government has said.

Last week, the Health Ministry said Japan was likely to have 28,395 centenarians at the end of September, an increase from last year’s record 25,554 — 85 percent of them female.

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