When Chie Oshino was 19, she worked as a tour guide with a bus company in Japan’s Kyoto region. One of her tours took her to the Meiji-Mura Museum in Inuyama where visitors could write a letter and have it posted 10 years later, a friendly time capsule from the not-too-distant past. Chie wrote to her parents on January 10, 2004, talking about her experiences as a tour guide and speculating about the future as most of us do: “I think I’ll probably be married and have a baby. But what if I was still single?”
I visited the open air Meiji-Mura Museum several years ago when I stayed with the family of my sister’s former pen pal, Hitoshi. We wandered among its collection of old western-styled buildings and spoke to the train engineer, who was the uncle of Hitoshi’s wife. The slower pace of an earlier era permeated the grounds.
Eventually, Chie moved back to her hometown of Otsuchi, where her parents still live. True to its promise, the museum posted Chie’s message to her mother and father on January 10, 2014. They found it in their mailbox two days later, a letter from their daughter, who vanished March 11, 2011 in the Great East Japan Earthquake.
On this anniversary of that terrible earthquake, read about Chie’s letter in Rocket News 24.