Grief is an excellent coping mechanism against loss. Everyone has different ways of dealing with their loss, be it the loss of a family member or a pet that they adore.
Which brings me to a place in Japan, that deals with its grief in a unique way: with a phone to speak to the dead.
Through the use of a telephone booth, residents in this coastal town use it to contact their loved ones.
People who’ve already died.
“The Phone Of The Wind”
Sitting on a grassy hill of Otsuchi Town in northeastern Japan, this telephone booth overlooks the place where a Tsunami has hit the coastline of Japan.
Due to the earthquake and tsunami that tore through Japan in 2011, almost 16,000 people had died.
And many communities across the country have yet to recover.
Speaking To Loved Ones Who Are Lost
The telephone booth ‘connects’ family members to their loved ones who were lost in the natural disaster.
People come to speak to those they have lost, to say the words they never got to say on that fateful day.
The concept for this grieving process was initiated by Itaru Sasaki, a 73-year-old gardener, who had worked on the old booth in his garden before the 2011 disaster.
Shortly after the tragedy happened, he completed it.
He had recently lost his cousin, and so, the booth gave him a private space to help him cope.
However, after the devastation left behind from the tsunami, news about the booth gradually spread.
People from various parts of Japan, affected by the Tsunami began to visit. It was even reported that back in 2018 that there were at least 25,000 people who used the phone.
While this might sound strange to some people, visitors acknowledged that the telephone booth is just an old dial phone with a disconnected phone line.
But this knowledge doesn’t prevent them from ‘talking’ to their loved ones.
And these one-way conversations harboured every visitor’s hopes that their messages will somehow reach their departed loved ones.
Who would have thought that a telephone booth could provide such a symbol for grief and hope?