Japanese people love their face masks. Long before the coronavirus came along, people wore them if they were ill, if they didn't want to get ill, if they suffered from hay fever, if they didn't have their make-up on, if they hadn't shaved, if they had a sunburn or something else to hide, so many reasons! Two months or so ago when the coronavirus started, face masks became very scarce. Maybe someone in Japan has closets full of them, I don't know. What I have heard is that there is a big shortage and they are nearly impossible to buy in the stores.
That's where this story comes in. After hearing that people were selling masks online at incrediblely marked up prices, Hime Takimoto, a 13 year old junior high school student from Kofu City, Yamanashi, used her otoshidama (New Year's gift money given to children in Japan) to buy the materials to make the masks. She made 612 face masks and donated them to her prefecture. Yamanashi Governor Kotaro Nagasaki accepted her generous gift, saying he was touched by her efforts and wants to distribute the masks to facilities that look after children and the elderly. Each mask has an attached message saying "I'd be happy if this could be of use to you".
I think this is incredibly generous. What an uplifting story in this unsettling time!