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Maybe I'm sending cards to a person in heaven 2016/12/4 17:41
Hi,

This question is not necessary unique to Japan, but is somewhat global, so I thought I'd post it on this Forum.

I've been sending Christmas cards from Japan to a woman in the U.S. (2nd generation Japanese-American, if that helps.) for a few decades now, and I realize that this woman might be deceased.

The reason I think so is because (A) she should be quite old by now, (B) she suddenly stopped sending responses several years ago, and (C) the internet tells me that several people of the same name and city have passed away at least five years ago.

The thing is that the fact that the cards aren't being sent back to me suggests that someone is accepting my cards. Guessing from the internet, I think the person accepting the cards is the woman's daughter. But the original recipient may still be alive.

So here are my questions:

1) Why do you think this someone is accepting my cards without notifying me? Please take a guess. By the way, I've always handwritten the envelopes, and my address is always on it.

2) What do you think I should do? Should I stop sending the cards? If so, should I write something on my last envelope for whoever is receiving them? Or should I just stop without saying anything? And what are your reasons for that?

Thank you in advance to your answers.
by Uco  

Re: Maybe I'm sending cards to a person in heaven 2016/12/5 06:07
Just send a card or a separate letter asking for her phone number, since you want to call and discuss staying with her for a few days while on a planned trip in February. Your trip plans can fall thru if she responds and you can tell her so in your call if she does send her phone number. If she doesn`t respond, then stop sending the cards.
by Paul (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Maybe I'm sending cards to a person in heaven 2016/12/5 06:42
1. They're too lazy and cheap to write a letter.

2. Give them your email address.
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Maybe I'm sending cards to a person in heaven 2016/12/5 07:08
Sometimes, if someone dies, and say there is just one child left, they may feel overwhelmed by all the stuff there is to do, all the contacts they need to notify, etc. They might just not get around to responding to all the mail that comes in. Then the address no longer belongs to that family and the new owners or tenants don't bother with mail that is not addressed to them. This is a possibility of what can happen.
by Ausfam (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Maybe I'm sending cards to a person in heaven 2016/12/5 09:17
Thank you all for your responses, except that Paul's idea would be too obvious a lie. I guess I might write a short note on the envelope to encourage the recipient to open it so that (s)he can read the information I would provide him/her. Maybe I'll enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope along with my email.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Maybe I'm sending cards to a person in heaven 2016/12/5 10:43
Maybe it's that you live in Japan and she lives in America. Perhaps the person who is accepting the envelope may not know how to respond to you; maybe she doesn't know you understand English? Maybe she doesn't wish to send a letter to Japan. Maybe the postal system doesn't "return to sender" overseas? It's hard to tell.
by John B digs Japan rate this post as useful

Re: Maybe I'm sending cards to a person in heaven 2016/12/5 18:12
I'd just like to add that I confirmed at the post office, while buying an international response coupon, that the U.S. system does send back mail that couldn't reach the address.

And thanks, John. In fact, that was precisely what I've been concerned about. All this time I had thought that the person I'm sending the cards to is accepting them (although she may be too old to write back or something). But if it's someone else who is receiving the cards, I'm sure (s)he would be hesitant to write back all the way to Japan, moreover on paper, because I never wrote my email address. Hence my question.

I think I'll enclose an envelope for them to use to send a message back to me, along with my email address, and see what happens.

Many thanks again. I hope to post a feedback in about a month or two. Meanwhile, don't hesitate to answer my question if any of you have any other ideas.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Maybe I'm sending cards to a person in heaven 2016/12/5 22:40
1) If your guess is that it's the family - the first year they might think they didn't notify the sender of this letter (= you), think that maybe you will stop writing once you don' hear from the original recipient, then by the time your next card rolls in, they might feel like the missed the right timing to inform you -so that they simply keep on accepting them. And maybe it doesn't occur to them to write "return to sender" on the envelope and drop into the mailbox. Maybe seeing that it is from someone in Japan, they might think it is just too much of a long distance to write.

2) I would probably write a short note on the envelope so that (if it is the family) the family will know what to do. Or send a postcard addressed to her & her family wishing all is well, you haven't heard from her for some time...
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Maybe I'm sending cards to a person in heaven 2016/12/5 22:58
Thank you, AK.

Good point about missing the right timing, because that's exactly what I myself is going through. I kept writing even though there was no response, and then I failed to find the right time to try to found out what actually happened to her.

I thought your idea of sending a postcard instead of an envelope was great too, but then I realized that I should enclose another envelope for them to use to write back, because there still are many people who don't email.

By the way, I know I could've just stopped writing when she didn't write back, but I once did that to another aging person and it later made me feel uncomfortable. I guess you have to deal with these things as you get old, because your friends get even older. And that's what season's greetings are for, anyway - to take the time to think about your acquaintances.

Thanks again.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Maybe I'm sending cards to a person in heaven 2016/12/29 07:00
This is such a touching story. Need an update from OP. I'm curious what happen next.
by B.M (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Maybe I'm sending cards to a person in heaven 2016/12/29 13:01
OP here. The short answer is that nothing has happened.

The long answer:

I sent a card addressed to whoever is accepting it, and I enclosed my email address along with an international postage coupon and an envelope for returning.

But you know what? I think I forgot to add the "whoever" on the real envelope. In other words, the person on the other side may have accepted an envelope that just says the name of the possibly deceased person, just as (s)he has been every year.

But if that ends up to be the reason I get no response, then be it. I consider it as fate. And thank you, B.M., for saying that it's touching. To me it has been nothing but reality, but it's nice to look at it that way at the end of a year.
by Uco rate this post as useful

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