May 13, 2011
A Deaf woman Mieko YAMANAKA (63) manages the thrift shop and the sign language class on the main street of Abo in Iga City, Mie Prefecture. She said, "I want to make this shop as a place for anyone to gather regardless of signing ability or disability."
Yamanaka who became deaf due to high fever at the age of one, completed the sewing course at the school for the Deaf in Osaka at the age of 20, and worked for a company for a year. Later she help housework, so there were not so many chances to mingle with a lot of people.
Yamanaka moved to Abo and thought she wanted to do something in 1998. She opened the first shop near the present place in October, 2004. However, she moved to Kashiwara City three years ago, and the opening day decreased to a day from four days a week, and the shop was located in an unremarkable place. So she decided to move the shop to the main street. She commutes by train from Kashiwara City.
The shop opens 10:00-18:00 every Tuesday; the plates, clothes, miscellaneous goods, etc. are on sale. Moreover, Yamanaka teaches the sign language class on individual basis (150 yen for about one hour) in the shop.