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Lost and Found

Whenever expatriates get together, they will start swapping stories about life in a foreign land.
And anytime they start to tell these stories, it's just a matter of time before it becomes a game of 'can you top that’.

Popular topics include the most expensive dinners, the scariest taxi rides, and the worst stomach disorders.

In Japan, though, a favorite topic is ‘Lost and Found’.
This topic is popular with expats for two reasons.

First, everyone who spends time in Japan has such a story – even if it isn’t his or her own.
Secondly, these stories strain the limits of our belief. I mean, how often do lost items get returned?

Glenns' Wonderings

The format of the story is simple. Just use the following sentence and fill in the blanks with your particulars.
I left an object in a place, but I got it back from a person/organization, even though there was a major obstacle.

Here is an example:

My wife Angie left her wedding ring in the public bathroom of a traditional Japanese inn on the Izu peninsula. She realized it the next day, so we had someone from our office call the inn. No problem. A guest had found the ring and returned it to the front desk. The inn would mail it to us that day, at no charge.

I was really impressed, but my friend Dave has a better story.

Dave was working in a remote corner of Shikoku Island. Returning to America, he rode a local train to the nearby airport, flew to Tokyo, spent a day there, and then flew back to California. In San Francisco, he realized that he had left a Nikon camera and all the accessories on the rack of the remote island train. He called us in Osaka for help. The office assistant then called Japan Railways West to report the lost camera. "Yes. We have it", they replied. "We’ve been waiting for your call."

The camera had sat on the rack until the train finished it’s runs that day. The crew found it and took it to lost and found. It sat there until we called.
JR sent it to us the next day, and we forwarded it to Dave.

Amazing. But I can top that story.

I left US$300 in an ATM on a Saturday afternoon. I realized it about twenty minutes later. I thought about going back, since this was Japan, but I decided that even in Japan, that money was as good as gone.
I always return objects, but if I found money in an ATM, I think I would keep it and call it a ‘stupidity tax’.

By Monday, I had forgotten about it. At noon, my assistant came to me and said, "Glenn-san. Did you leave 30,000 yen in a bank machine this weekend?"
Yes. How did you know?
"The bank just called. The person who used the machine after you found the money. They brought it back to that branch this morning. The bank then ran a check on all 30,000 yen withdrawals from that day, and found that only one was from a foreigner. So they figured it was yours. Do you want to pick it up? Or should they deliver it?"

Can you top that?

GH 09/00
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