Geeky Octogenerian

MASAKO WAKAMIYA IS A JAPANESE WOMAN WHO JUST LAUNCHED HER OWN iPHONE APP. THIS GEEK IS 81 YEARS OLD!

81 YEAR OLD MASAKO WAKAMIYA

81 YEAR OLD MASAKO WAKAMIYA

Masako Wakamiya created and launched an app called, Hinadan, an iOS game based on Japan's traditional festival Hinamatsuri, or Doll's Day, which is celebrated in early March.

During Hinamatsuri, ornamental dolls representing the emperor and his entourage dressed in traditional clothing are displayed in a specific arrangement. In Wakamiya's app, users have to decorate the dolls and get them in the right position for Hinamatsuri.

She has become a model to many, especially to those who have reached retirement age and think all they need do is to tour the world and sip glass after glass of lemonade while sitting on a window facing the ocean.

Masako Wakamiya is a retired banker who fell in love with mobile games but couldn't keep up the speed of the younger generation. She began using the computer at age 60 when her elderly mother came to live with her. Caring for her mom restricted her movement. She couldn't go out and socialize that much and that was how she began to use the computer.       In her own words, "Back then, computers weren't so user-friendly and I recalled it took me three months to set up my computer and get online. My face was covered in sweat and tears." She revealed that she felt compelled to do something after noticing a shortage of fun apps aimed at people her age. After asking a bunch of people to create games for seniors, but no one showed interest, she took matters into her own hands and achieved something many people half her age haven't done.

She said " I wanted to create a fun app to get elderly people interested in smartphones and this took about half a year to develop because we easily lose games when playing against young people since our finger movements can't match their speed."

"You don't have to be a professional," she said. "If you have creativity, if you have a playful mind, you can create teaching materials." Wakamiya now gives computers classes and blogs regularly in Japanese (and English with the help of Google's translation tool).