Camera online

Emotional return 10 years later

Playing with a pet rabbit, celebrating a birthday with a cake, hugging your dog, participating in sporting events.

These are some of the times people grab the camera to capture precious moments.

But what if your camera is lost and the digital card storing special memories is gone?

When Tama Sasaki from Dunedin picked up an SD card outside a supermarket 10 years ago, she didn’t give it much thought, just putting it in a drawer and forgetting about it.

Fast forward 10 years and Miss Sasaki has bought a new camera.

While sorting through her SD cards, she saw photos she didn’t recognize, including photos of a woman in hospital.

“I saw that the lady was almost at the end of her life in the hospital with her family around her.”

Then she saw photos of a family reunion at a traditional Japanese funeral.

“I was so emotional and thought I had to give it back to the family.”

She posted pictures of a pet rabbit and a woman playing with a pet pug dog on social media and asked if anyone recognized them.

Someone observed that the buildings in the photos resembled the type of houses built east of Hiroshima city.

Going through the photos, Miss Sasaki found a family name on a plaque at the entrance to a house.

Now with a possible location and surname, Miss Sasaki contacted her sister Naomi Kitano, who lives in Japan.

Ms Kitano was able to find a phone number and despite being nervous about a “very dodgy phone call” she called the number.

A woman answered the phone and was able to confirm that her sister Akina Tominaga had lost her SD card in New Zealand, so Miss Sasaki posted the SD card to the address.

Ms Tominaga said when she received a call on April 1 about a lost SD card, she thought it was an April Fool’s joke.

When a few weeks later the SD card arrived in the mail, she cried looking at the photos.

“I cried when I checked it out because it was filled with happy and sad memories.

“I had this SD card in my camera case, but when I took the camera out, I think I dropped it somewhere.”

Ms. Tominaga said she wanted to thank Miss Sasaki from the bottom of her heart for finding and returning the SD card.

“It was 10 years ago and my time in New Zealand turned into days like a dream. There are a lot of things I don’t remember.”

Ms Tominaga said one of the reasons the SD card was important was because it showed her mother’s funeral.

“At the time, my mother had been battling cancer for several years and had been in and out of the hospital several times with cancer treatment.

“She fell seriously ill a month before I left for New Zealand. Just before she became critical, she asked me, ‘Are you sure you want to go to New Zealand?’

“I had always wanted to go to New Zealand, so I was upset and said, ‘I’m going!’ emotionally.

“I wonder if my mother knew she was going to die soon.”

Miss Sasaki said as a Japanese woman who had lived in Dunedin for over 20 years, she was amazed at the coincidence that she picked up an SD card showing a Japanese family.

“I’m relieved to be able to return this SD card to the family.”

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