I had a few pen pals in other countries when I was younger, mostly sponsored through school. Then, in college I exchanged letters with an amazing girl from Japan, whom (who? darn it!) I had met when she came to our high school as part of an exchange program.
That was in the 90s; we had email and, before we graduated, the WWW, but Kyoko and I still preferred to write old fashioned letters. She got artistic with hers, and would illustrate the margins with scenes from her life. She was incredibly talented. When she graduated college she became a professional artist.
We lost touch around 2000 or so, due to us both moving around a lot and never having the common sense to exchange email addresses. I still have all her letters, including some that she wrote to me in Japanese, even though she knew I couldn't read them. She told me when she sent them, "If we meet again I will translate them for you, or perhaps in the future you will learn to read them yourself!" An associate translated them for me a few years ago; turns out the letters in Japanese were elegantly-stated observations about our friendship and how much it had meant to her, especially when she was lonely on her exchange trip in America.
Being pen pals with her was a great experience, and I feel like I really learned a lot from her. It makes me a little sad to think that pen pals aren't really "a thing" anymore. It was such a valuable experience for me!
Wow, thinking about this has made me miss her. I think I'll try to track her down. I'm sure she must have a web presence somewhere!
Edit: Well, I have quite a challenge ahead if I want to find her. Not only does she share her name with a semi-famous soprano, a performance dancer, and an expert on China, but I would guess that she has married and changed her name by now. The only hit I can find that is identifiable as her is from 1998, when her art was published in a book. Oh, dear! Well, it shall be an interesting hunt, at least. Onward!
Last edited by Skibble; 12-20-2012 at 08:32 PM.