As I was riding on a scooter along the main road, I passed by a small museum and hesitated for a moment before I walked in. There was no any other guest, and the museum looks no different from a local house. I said “Sumimasen”, and then an old lady came out from inside.
“You are the first guest today”, said the old lady as she pulled out a notebook and asked me to sign on the guest list. In fact it is already 4pm. I told her I am from Taiwan, as I wrote my name in the guest list.
“Alas, you are from Taiwan!” It turned out that the old lady has been to Taiwan during the Japanese occupation era. In her memory, there was a ferry connecting Taiwan and Yonaguni, and Taiwan had a very good railway network.
The old lady put on the traditional clothes and passionately introduced me the artifacts.
The light was used on the ferry between Taiwan and Yonaguni, which was in operation between 1927 and 1944.
This is the pictogram used in ancient times.
Yonaguni was once inhabited by more than ten thousand people. Now it has only around 1,700 inhabitants.
Guess what? This is a pillow.
Before I left, the old lady gave me two books as present. One is about the history of Yonaguni, and the other the dictionary of local dialect. It turned out that one of the books was written by her, and she is 93 years old and is the director of the museum! It was really lucky to stumble upon this place. This might be what people call serendipity.
After I left Yonaguni, I sent her a book of Taiwan during Japanese occupation and a postcard of today’s Taipei, with the hope that the book may remind her of the memories in Taiwan. If you happen to visit Yonaguni, it is highly recommended to visit the museum even if you don’t speak Japanese. After all, communication is beyond language.
Trip to Yonaguni-jima Island- Episode 2
July / 2012