Listening on the wind


Itaru Sasaki’s cousin died in 2010, and to deal with his loss, he built a glass-sided phone booth in his hilltop garden, pictured in a story on Inside he put a rotary phone — not connected to anything, mind you — so he could just pick up the phone and speak to his cousin whenever he wanted to.

In 2011, when the devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, his town was hit with a 30-foot wave, the National Post reports (, and 10 percent of Sasaki’s fellow townspeople died or vanished in the disaster. He offered the use of his “wind phone” to the community to help them heal, and soon the word spread. Now it has been visited by 25,000 people.

There is a notebook beside the phone, where people can leave written messages for their dearly departed, such as “Please watch over us from heaven.” So far, four notebooks have been filled.

“… People feel like their lost loved ones are there listening on the other end of the line,” Sasaki told the Post. “I want people to resume their lives as soon as possible by expressing their feelings.”

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or