In 2010, Itaru Sasaki, a garden designer from Ōtsuchi, Japan, learned that his cousin had terminal cancer with three months to live.After his cousin’s death, Sasaki set up an old telephone booth in his garden, to continue to feel connected to him by “talking” to him on the phone.According to Sasaki, the wind phone was not designed with any specific religious connotation, but rather as a way to reflect on his loss. In an interview, he stated: “Because my thoughts couldn’t be relayed over a regular phone line, I wanted them to be carried on the wind.”
The wind phone is a white, glass-paned telephone booth, located on a hill that overlooks Ōtsuchi, containing a black, disconnected telephone on a metal shelf. A notebook is placed next to the telephone for messages of remembrance. It was opened to the public the following year after an earthquake and tsunami killed over 15,000 people in Japan. It has since received over 30,000 visitors. A number of replicas have been constructed around the world, and it has served as the inspiration for several novels and films, including Tabitha Bird’s The Emporium of Imagination.
Bird is an Australian author who’s debut novel, A Lifetime Of Impossible Days, won the Queensland Literary Award 2020- People’s Choice Book of the Year.
The Emporium of Imagination is a magical shop that travels the world offering gifts that offer solace to the heartbroken with these extraordinary telephones that allow you to contact lost loved ones.
On arrival at Boonah, a rural town in South East Queensland, the store’s custodian realises that he is “dying”, and needs to locate a replacement custodian. The population of Boonah are initially receptive to the Emporium and its magic but then there are “issues”.
We meet the Rayne brothers recently orphaned following their fathers passing. We meet a tradie who was disowned by his father because of his sexual preference, and a young boy whose dream of dancing was quashed by his Dad. One woman always wanted to be an artist, another dreams of baking and love, and yet another, a single parent to a tribe, who longs to design and create clothing.
This is a town of secrets, of hurts, of broken dreams. You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens at the Emporium of Imagination.
I’ve been reading a lot of biographies of late due to the research I’ve been putting into detailing some of Australia’s Female Trailblazers; getting a bit bogged down in facts and numbers, you know. So when I started reading this book I thought I was reading a children’s book, or at very least, a book for Tweens. But in between all the butterflies and unicorns are these great little stories about every day people, people you and I both know, and I stopped looking for facts and data and just read. Read like I did years ago with child like wonder. And that’s the beauty of this novel. It takes you back to before mortgage payments and health insurance premiums were your major concerns, to the days before your weekends were taken up by kids’ weekend sport. I loved it.
And talking children’s books I love this new one :
ABOUT NEXT DOOR’S DOG IS A VETERAN’S DOG
“Veteran Joe and his family have moved in next door to Lucas. Dad and Joe are good mates who served in the military together.
When Lucas sees Joe getting off the bus with Poppy by his side, he wants to know more. He listens to Dad but doesn’t really understand how Poppy helps Joe – until he sees it for himself.
At a café Lucas looks on while Poppy keeps watch, stays close to Joe, and allows him to relax and enjoy the celebration without worrying about what is happening behind him. That’s when Lucas begins to understand the wonderful work that Poppy does to help Joe to live a full life. He also learns that the way people look does not always tell the whole story.”
Disappearing for the rest of the month.I’m playing Mee Maw to the Chubmeister and then I’m off outback. Yee haa.