Postcard seeks info on tsunami losses


Aberdeen Mayor Bill Simpson wasn’t sure what to think, at first. But sitting in his mail box was a postcard from a 77-year-old man in Japan asking Simpson to keep a lookout for items the man had lost in the Japanese tsunami.

“I wasn’t sure about it,” Simpson said. “Is it a joke? But, then I got to think about it, and, I think it’s real.”

Simpson says the postcard is a bit jumbled to read, possibly as the man translates his native tongue to English, but Simpson and other readers can make out its contents.

The writer, Mr. Saito of a ward of Sapporo, Japan, describes himself as 77 years old “who lost my collected surveyed amounts’ library cards,” which he explains were swept out to sea during the Japanese tsunami event in March of last year, which he describes as the Tohuku Miyagi 2011.

Mr. Saito explains that he had read recently that many “lost packaged tools/house woods are arriving to the USA’s Pacific Ocean seashores.”

“To your seashore areas, have you been observing the floated materials?” Mr. Saito asks. “If you find some, please let me know any news. I don’t use any electric tools now here, so please, to me by air letter!”

Saito also wishes the mayor well as the Autumn season approaches and “please welcome the new agriculture food together.”

The postcard cost 70 yen and carries the word “nippon” on it, typical for most post-1947 stamps, according to several stamp collecting guides. It’s been stamped as air mail in Sapporo, Japan.

And although the postcard doesn’t carry a specific address on it, it is generically addressed to the mayor of Aberdeen in Washington state of the United States of America and, credit to the Postal Service, it found its way to Simpson’s hands.

The postcard also includes a note that Mr. Saito is sending the postcard on Aug. 6, “Hiroshima Bombing Day.”

Simpson said he wonders what the man’s story could be. No more details are provided on the postcard.

“This man felt compelled to write us, looking for what he lost,” Simpson said.

Ocean Shores Mayor Crystal Dingler, Westport Mayor Michael Bruce and Hoquiam Mayor Jack Durney say they haven’t received any kind of postcards or letters like what Simpson received.

“I’m a little jealous,” Bruce said.

Simpson said there really hasn’t been much tsunami debris found in the Aberdeen area because the currents would make it a bit more difficult for material to make it into Grays Harbor.

But there’s been plenty of tsunami debris found along the coast.

Dumpsters full of marine debris have been removed from Grays Harbor beaches over the past few months. In fact, the state Department of Ecology reports that a special cleanup team deployed in June between Cape Disappointment and Moclips collected enough material — from styrofoam and plastic to crates and refrigerators — to fill the beds of 70 pickup trucks.