Today, Rick and Andy combined to present a service ) about how some people in Japan who had lost loved ones in the 2011 tsunami were making a pilgrimage (of sorts) to a phone booth on a hill in the town of Otsuchi in order to ‘speak with’ their deceased relatives. The so-called ‘wind phone’ (kaze no denwa) is comprised of a simple disconnected rotary phone which is located in a white phone booth that overlooks the Pacific ocean. The phone is owned by a 70 year old gardener named Itaru Sasaki who had installed the phone in his garden prior to the disaster in order to give him a private space to help him cope with the loss of his cousin. However after the devastation of the tsunami, news about the phone gradually spread and eventually it became a well known site for people to talk to their deceased loved ones. It has already had 10,000 visitors. Many of these people have experienced the loss of their loved ones without having anyplace to find their remains. In addition, the catastrophe was unexpected, so there was no time to prepare for death.
Then Andy took over and explained some of the basic beliefs of the Shinto religion. In Shintoism, every living thing has a spirit. Deceased people also retain their spirit for a time before they move on to the next world. They help look over the living and see them taken care of, but the spirits cannot move on to a more permanent rest until all is settled. One of the things we see happening in the documentary of the wind telephone is that reassurance.