A Japanese teenager expressed her gratitude Sunday after a U.S. sailor in Hawaii found a bottle she had tossed into the sea off Japan’s southern coast as a child, and said she was delighted to be reconnected with her old classmates as a result.
Saki Arikawa, 17, said she had almost forgotten about the bottle and initially couldn’t believe it was found after five years.
The clear glass bottle was found Thursday by Navy Petty Officer Jon Moore during a beach cleanup at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai island.
The bottle contained four origami cranes — symbols of peace in Japan — as well as a photo of Arikawa’s elementary school class and a note dated March 25, 2006, and signed by Arikawa saying she wanted it to be “a graduation memory.”
The bottle was one of five she tossed into the ocean in 2006 as her sixth-grade class graduated from Kokubu Elementary School in Kagoshima. She and her 31 classmates dropped five bottles each, including the one that turned up last week.
Three other bottles had previously been recovered, including two in Alaska and a third at another location in Hawaii.
The Navy said Moore was among 40 base personnel and 16 students and faculty from a Kauai school who picked up beach trash in observance of International Coastal Cleanup Day.