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Writing Letters is Actually Fun and Useful!

Because of the pandemic, it became impossible for my grandmother to leave home or meet us because of the risk of getting the virus. So, I started writing her letters to keep in touch while I can't meet her and to entertain her somehow while she can't go outside. Now, I have been exchanging letters with my grandmother for three months and here are some of my thoughts on it!

Letters are useful for organizing your thoughts and surroundings

Recently, I've been sending letters to my grandmother each week. The content is mostly about my life: what I did and how I felt about it. Reflecting on my life on a daily basis makes me more organized, both physically and mentally. Regularly reflecting on my life makes me realize what I should do to live a healthier life. I started living apart from my family during this great pandemic, and I feel anxious about it. Writing my honest feelings to someone that I trust helps to reduce those stresses. In addition to that, people who have lived way longer than us can give us great tips on life, which can help us overcome some of our problems!

Learn new facts about the person you're writing to

Before the pandemic, I usually went to my grandmother's house to chat with her. Now that it's no longer possible to do so, I've started talking to her over the phone. But because she can't hear well even when speaking directly in person, smooth communication on the phone was difficult. I believe she couldn't hear what I said most of the time. So, I started to write letters to her so that she could understand everything I wanted to say. Through the words in our letters, we both could understand each other very well, which lead to hearing exciting stories that I never heard before. When I wrote that I went to the city library and borrowed some books to read, she wrote back with a story of when she was around my age. She said she used to read books while doing her chores like taking the cow on her morning walk! My grandmother doesn't talk about herself much when we meet in person, so I found it exciting to hear her stories in letters. 

Useful for practicing Kanji!

Finally, for Japanese language users, letters will be a great way to practice writing kanji. As you may have realized, we don't handwrite kanji as often as we did in elementary or junior high, now that we type. My kanji writing skill has become so bad that even the most common characters don't come up. But when I started writing letters to my grandmother, I began to remember and write kanji I couldn't write before! I also gained a habit of searching how to write something in kanji if I don't know, instead of leaving it unknown like I did before. People who want to practice kanji and also have fun should try writing letters to someone!

Many people don't write letters today since there is "fast and easy" communication through SNS. But now that we see people less and have more time at home, why not try writing letters? Maybe it'll become a hobby of yours like it did for me.

Yuno Yamamoto

ICU Japan '24

Currently studying at ICU. Enjoys reading, watching films/TV series on NETFLIX, listening to music, and drawing. Also enjoys going to art museums and collecting picture frames.
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