Japan's oldest person, Kama Chinen, died this week at the ripe old age of 114 - just a week shy of her 115th birthday! That's 5 score and nearly 5 years! It's mind boggling to think of all that she must have observed during those years. Some wonderful, some probably not so wonderful.
She was born in the same year that Marconi sent the first radio signal. Today, there are over 44,000 radio stations worldwide. TV wasn't invented until 1926 and broadcast TV didn't happen until 1946.
She lived through two world wars and many lesser - but no less devastating - wars & conflicts; almost countless prime ministers (wonder if there was a good one somewhere there in the bunch?); and the reign of 4 Emperors.
Japan is rapidly becoming a nation of the aging. Yesterday, as we rode our bikes along the Tama River the number of elderly people, many using canes and even some in wheelchairs, walking or wheeling along the river was amazing.
At the same time, the number of people under the age of 15 in Japan has declined again for the 29th year in a row. There are slightly less than 17 million under that age now. There are almost as many dogs in Japan as there are young children - about 13 million dogs.
With the passing of Chinen-sama, the oldest person in the world now is French citizen Eugenie Blanchard, who was born on February 16, 1896 on the Caribbean island of Guadalupe. May you live many more years, Ms. Blanchard!