There’s a telephone booth in the town of Otsuchi in Japan, where many people go to talk to their loved ones who died during the 2011 tsunami. The tsunami had brought about great devastation, resulting in the deaths of 16,000 people. In the town of Otsuchi, nearly 10% of the residents had lost their lives. People in the town have tried many ways to cope up with the loss of their loved ones, and the phone booth is one such means that allows people to vent out their grief. It has become a center of pilgrimage for those who are inconsolable and grieving the loss of their family members, friends or relatives. The phone booth features a glass-paned box and inside it, there’s a disconnected rotary phone. Here, visitors come to spend some time to talk to the people they lost during the 2011 tsunami.
The idea for the phone booth was conceptualized by a man named Itaru Sasaki. Sasaki had lost his cousin in the tsunami, post which, he was overwhelmed with grief. To cope up with his loss, Sasaki installed the phone booth in his garden. He later decided that he should let others too to make use of the telephone booth. Sasaki believes that the winds carry the message from people to their dead loved ones. Till date, more than 10,000 people have called up their dead loved ones using the telephone booth. Many are regulars, whereas others have visited only once or twice. Sasaki visits the telephone booth every morning to clean it and keep it free from cobwebs.