An Expired Postcrossing Card That Worries Me


Mail sometimes does go astray. Sometimes a postcrosser forgets to register a postcard. Things happen. I understand that. Usually an expired Postcrossing card, one that has been traveling more than 60 days, doesn’t bother me much. The one shown above does.

It was sent out on March 6th and it returned to me this week. So, it isn’t lost. I know exactly where it is and exactly where it has been. If you look at the photo closely, you may be able to make out the postmark.



Now you see why it’s worrisome. A postcard returned to sender appears to be an isolated, almost insignificant event. However, the ramifications of what that returned postcard could indicate are troubling. I rechecked the profile of the user…a young 32-year-old woman with a husband and a 1-yr-old daughter. She wants to see the aurora borealis. Some of her favorite things are dogs, coffee, spring, and stamps. She was last seen on Postcrossing over two months ago.

Aya, I hope you and your family are safe. I hope the reason you haven’t been online is that your electric service has been disrupted, or that you’ve relocated to a shelter or to stay with family or friends. I’m concerned, but won’t think the unthinkable.


  • Moby

    Hi, I'm subscribed to your RSS feed, and I'm commenting because this particular post struck me. Like many, I have followed closely the news from Japan these past few months. I thought it odd that the postcard was returned to you. I also hope that your correspondent is well. If she lives in Nagareyama, then a quick look at the map would indicate that it's not very near the worst-hit areas, so that's some cause for hope.

  • Patty Davidson

    Hello Moby,
    Thanks for following my blog. Like you, I have looked at the map and I agree with your assessment.

    I don't know why the postcard was returned to me. It is marked RETOUR INCONNU with a red arrow pointing to my return address. Aya's name and address have also been slashed through with the same red pen.

    The confusion, heartbreak, and chaos of the situation in Japan is massive, but they are a resilient people. They will rebuild. It will take some time. I'm saving the postcard and when Aya becomes active on Postcrossing once more, I will try again. I'm looking for a postcard showing the Aurora Borealis as well.

  • phonelady61

    I think maybe alot of the pos must be gone and they are having trouble keeping track of the mail and maybe that is why it was returned . Just a thought but I hope this dear woman and her family are okay .

  • box652

    Even the postcard has a tear.

    Have you tried sending a message (electronic) to the recipient? Maybe that would get through.

    HOping for all the best outcomes. And this post brings that tragedy into the realm of the personal. Our friends, postcrossers, swappers, mail-arters, folks we know (in Japan, Missouri, Oklahoma) may be without post, and suffering even bigger losses.

    Sometimes I marvel that when I come home from work, my home is still standing. It's wonderful. And not the case for everybody on our planet.

  • Eunice

    If it helps, I checked the Royal Mail site and post to Japan is getting through now. Perhaps you could send it again and see if it gets to the recipient after all?

  • Patty Davidson

    Thanks Eunice,
    That's a good idea. It had crossed my mind to check and see if mail delivery had resumed, but I wasn't exactly sure how to do it. Should've Googled it, or asked. Thanks for doing, rather than thinking about doing.

  • PamelaArtsinSF

    I would worry too – but as others said, that area wasn't the hardest hit so hoping the mail just got all messed up due to the quake. This is interesting because over on Missive Maven's blog there is a post and comments about including your return address on postcards…..ties in to your post. If you didn't put a return address you would never know if she got the card or not….

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