Not the kind of trash beach-cleaning volunteer expected to find.

Japanese Twitter user @warunori_55 is a guy with a lot of pride for his hometown, Kanagawa Prefecture’s Fujisawa. About an hour south of downtown Tokyo, Fujisawa is part of the Shonan coast, one of east Japan’s most popular beach areas. The beaches near Fujisawa’s Enoshima island even afford gorgeous views of Mt. Fuji when the weather is clear.

Because he loves his town, @warunori_55 regularly volunteers to help keep the beaches clean by picking up trash that’s been left behind by inconsiderate visitors or washed up on shore. Usually, that would mean things like empty drink containers and snack wrappers, but earlier this month he spotted some very different debris.

Bunching together in the water near the shoreline were dozens of pieces of paper. Ordinarily, you’d expect such material to dissolve after prolonged exposure to saltwater, but these were laminated, because it turned out that they were…

pictures of idol singers! And not just any idols, but two especially famous ones, Natsumi Abe and Maki Goto.

You might not be familiar with those names if you’ve only recently gotten into idol music, but both Abe and Goto were members of idol mega group Morning Musume, which dominated the genre during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Abe was a member of the unit from 1997 to 2004, and while Goto’s membership was shorter, 1999-2001, she was arguably the most popular idol in the entire country at that time.

▼ Maki Goto

However, that vintage makes the way the photo cards were discovered all the stranger. While both Abe and Goto went on to have moderately successful solo careers, they’re still best known for their time with Morning Musume, and it’s been over a decade since either was a bona fide A-lister in the Japanese music industry. “I wonder if the owner stopped liking them,” wonders @warunori_55, but it seems like if someone was just going through an Abe-and-Goto phase, they would have gotten over it long ago, making now a weird time to throw their no-longer-wanted treasures into the sea.

Though he initially intended to take only the Goto photos home with him, as more and more Abe cards washed up, @warunori_55 started to develop a fondness for her as well, and so he’s hanging onto the whole set for now. We may never know how the idol pictures ended up in the ocean, just like we’re still not sure how that amazing set of Yi-Gi-Oh cards appeared in a river elsewhere in Japan, but it’s starting to look like a good idea to keep your eyes peeled when around the country’s bodies of water, just in case some collectibles come floating your way.

Source: Twitter/@warunori_55 via Kinisoku
Images: Twitter/@warunori_55
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