January 30, 2008

Letter sent floating into sky from school 15 years ago found on fish

This is an interesting news. A letter found after 15 years.

A letter sent floating into the sky from an elementary school 15 years ago has been found on a fish netted about 40 kilometers off the coast here.

Kiyoshi Kimino, 52, owner of the fishing boat "Daihachi Daitoku Maru," found the folded letter tied to the remains of a balloon caught up on a shark-skin flounder that was netted about 40 kilometers southeast off Inubosaki, Chiba Prefecture, while he was sorting out the day's catch at Choshi Port on Thursday.

"I am a first-grader. ... Please reply to me if you pick up this letter," the note read.

The Choshi Fisheries Cooperative contacted the Miyazaki Municipal Elementary School in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, and found that the letter and the balloon were released by students during a ceremony marking the 120th anniversary of the school in 1993.

Natsumi Shirahige, the author of the letter, was thrilled to hear that it had been found.

"What a wonderful story!" said the 21-year-old student from Kawasaki. Now a sophomore at Waseda University, Shirahige clearly remembers the day when she and other students released the balloon into the sky on Nov. 27, 1993.

"I still remember the balloons fading into the blue sky. I'm so happy someone read my letter," Shirahige said.

Kimino and other fishermen were also apparently surprised.

"How amazing that the letter turned up with a fish 15 years later!" said Kimino.

The letter apparently survived in the seawater for many years because it was written on oil paper with an oil-based ink pen.

The letter reads:

"To whoever picks up this letter:

I am a first-grader at an elementary school. Our school is now celebrating its 120th anniversary. In commemoration of this event, we sang and danced. Please reply to me if you pick up this letter."

Natsumi Shirahige
Miyazaki Municipal Elementary School
1795 Umakinu, Miyamae-ku, Kawasaki

via [mdn]