|Hiroko Noritomi and the children who wrote the message on the card attached to the strap.|
|The home-made "ILY" strap|
NORITOMI Hiroko (68) of Obihiro City in Hokkaido who has tackled the activity to enhance an understanding of Deaf culture. She made a "ILY (I-LOVE-YOU)" strap for mobile phones to present to the stricken area of the Great East Japan Earthquake. The strap which tucked up about 800 pieces is due to be sent before Christmas.
Her Deaf son, Hideto (42), managed a shop called the Deaf Culture Village to show Deaf arts culture and history in the city for a year since July, 2004. Hiroko was not happy about the closing of his shop and began making a stuff with the ILY sign, a symbol of the shop, since 2005.
She tucked up about 10,000 pieces of the "ILY" stuff until now, and had presented them to schools or facilities. Her wish was people who took the strap in their hand would become gentle.
Hiroko watched the TV program on the situation of the stricken area, and instantly thought what happened to the parents without their children, and to the children without their family. She thought that she could only present something to them. So she added a heart-shaped piece to the design of the "ILY" strap.
It takes about 4 hours to make one strap. Hiroko underwent the operation for her breast cancer in June, last year, continuing to make more pieces of the strap with care for her health condition. She says with a smile, "This is a good rehabilitation for me, as well as the source of my cheerfulness."
In order to send the strap with an encouraging message, Hiroko had the elementary school children to write a message on November 14. They wrote the message each in their own way, such like "it is OK," "Your living will be certainly recovered," etc.
Church members in Obihiro City will present the first set of straps on November 20 on her behalf when they visit the stricken area, and the second by Hiroko's friend who plans a visit on December 5.