Japan's oldest person celebrated her 113th birthday Tuesday, and the mayor dropped by with flowers and a $1,400 present.
Waka Shirahama's secret of long life is "hard work and moderation in eating," said her fourth daughter, Maki, who is 79.Maki said her mother used to pull a bicycle cart through the streets to make a living selling vegetables. For the past 16 years, Shirahama, who lives on a southern island, has eaten a bowl of soft rice and a cup of sugared soybean soup both for breakfast and dinner, and for lunch a cup of honeyed milk and fruit.
Tatsuya Iwahashi, mayor of Miyakonojo on Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu, brought her a bouquet and 200,000 yen, equal to $1,400, as a gift of congratulations from the city.
Shirahama was born March 26, 1878, in the Kyushu town of Kagoshima, and bore nine children. Her husband, Shutaro, died in 1939.
Shirahama became Japan's oldest person when Mitsu Fujisawa died Jan. 17, 1990, at the age of 113 and nine months.