Only in Japan

No matter what the country of origin, religious preference or family upbringing, there are certain irrefutable facts about boys.

1) They always take unnecessary risks,

2) stay dirty until the age of 18

3) prefer eating with fingers and using the couch as a napkin

4) will break the heirlooms but not the kitsch when sword fighting through the living room

5) tend to accidentally kill small reptiles and amphibians who mistakenly cross their path- See “Kermit Gets the Cold Shoulder” from “Some Species Eat Their Young” here.

6) will jump in or over every puddle, stream or spilled beverage- with predictable results

7) and lose anything of value

Which is what happened to Offspring #1`s wallet. Since it wasn`t velcroed, taped or stapled to his person, it “disappeared” on the Tokyo Subway. During rush hour. With 25 million other commuters on their way home. With $100 his wallet- which explained where his lunch money has gone.


St. Anthony and I had our daily chat during which I asked for his celestial assistance in locating yet another lost item.

Being a responsible kid, he searched his pockets, swiveled his head up and down the train platform, and declared his search complete. Only now he had no money for train fare. He was forced to call in.

Ouisar-San to Offspring #1- ” Before I come get you, just check in lost and found at the main train station. Maybe an angel happened to find it and turn it in.” This said calmly as I kicked the window sill sending the crows flapping, the f word screaming through my mind.

Visions of the victory dance the lucky finder did upon discovery of the loaded wallet stomped through my head. Followed by images of  the dinner Offspring #1 had now purchased for this charmed finder. Or drinks. Or who knows what.

Next phone call.

“Mom- it was in the lost and found at the station. WITH ALL THE MONEY IN IT!”

St. Anthony and I high fived, knuckle bumped, and completed our routine with a chest bump.

Only in Japan, during rush hour, would someone find a wallet, and not only turn it in, but do so without emptying first. Perhaps it was karma returning from the time I found a purse lying in the street, with the wallet inside, with all the valuables so neatly arranged inside, turned it in to the local police man on the corner. I guess the culture has transformed me. I`ve become honest at the expense of my own financial gain.

I love it here.

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38 Responses to Only in Japan

  1. Juligan says:

    A couple of weeks ago, I left my wallet at the bank’s ATM, and didn’t notice it until 1/ 2 an hour later, when at the grocery store, I went to pay for a few items. I ran out, using hand signs to tell the cashier that I’d left my wallet at the banku, and I’d be back…… Of course, the wallet wasn’t there, but I went directly to the Koban (corner police station) and walked in to see the entire contents of my wallet: a few hundred Euro’s and another two hundred U.S. $$, that I hadn’t gotten around to taking out after my summer travels, as well as 30,000 yen, and every card and receipt that I’d been sticking in there since June, credit cards, U.S. and Japanese drivers licenses, etc. – all spread out on the desk. I was embarrassed at how much space on the desk my stuff took up! The friendly policeman looked up at my relieved face, and asked, Jureea (Julia) desuka? Hai!! So desu!! Big smiles! The man who’d found it was still there, so I was able to do my best bows and ariigato’s with some gomenasai’s thrown in. Luckily, they hadn’t yet filled in the paper work, so I was able to collect it all, continuing to bow and apologize for the inconvenience I’d caused them. I’m with you – I love it here!!



  2. Kate Allison says:

    How lovely! I feel all warm and fuzzy now. Love the description of a boy’s search, swiveling head up and down train platform…what IS it about guys and their inability to look for things?


  3. The Nose says:

    I’ve watched that video 1000 times and it still makes me laugh! So true about boys, I’ve started slapping my male offspring’s hand everytime he puts his fingers in his plate. Or should I say pterodactyl claws which are so long he uses them like a Monjayaki shovel (see last post).
    I love the Japanese- So Sweet!! Such a great example of “Right Living”- and they don’t even need a “WWJD” rubber arm band to remind them!


  4. Damn, Saint Anthony is good!


  5. The Tourist says:

    Saint Anthony comes to the rescue again.


  6. jacquelincangro says:

    Great story!
    If my nephew is any representation of teenage boys, I can attest to # 2. I would also like to add that no amount of cologne or deodorant can mitigate the smell. What is it about teenage boys and the smell?


    • Your nephew has not discovered that horrible substance known as “Axe” in which case you will long for the boy smell instead of the overpowering cologne smell! I`m convinced they try to cover up with Axe instead of showering.


  7. Yousei Hime says:

    Your offspring sound a lot like mine, minus the willingness to do a second (congrats on successful) search for missing wallet. Enjoying your blog. So glad I stumbled on it.


  8. Tori Nelson says:

    I consider myself a good person mostly. With that being said, I’m not sure I wouldn’t look around to see if anyone was watching and snatch that money, honey! I never was nice enough to be Japanese 😦


  9. from the little I know and have seen (post-tsunami) – I have so much respect for many japanese traits. pride, respect, order…and ,as your experience shows, honesty!


  10. And I love your posts and the karma of it all. And yes I am finding out you are right on about little boys. Bless the person who handed it in – intact!


  11. Pingback: The End is Near (and we deserve it). . . . $35k/lb Tea Fertilized by Panda Poo « Author Piper Bayard

  12. Dana says:

    I’m giggling at the thought of your son doing a cursory glance side to side to find his missing wallet. I’ve found many ‘lost’ items right in front of my dad’s/hubby’s/male friend’s face. It must be a widespread genetic blindspot. Passed through generations on the Y chromosome only. 😉


  13. Can you do a post on Japanese baseball some time?


  14. Not sure how I am supposed to pass this on so I am just going to do this.

    : )


  15. tokyobling says:

    Yay! Japan 1 – Bad Karma 0! I have only found three wallets so far, I didn’t even look in two of them before handing them in but one was clearly emptied before I got to it. Felt sad for Mr. Suzuki who enjoy watching movies rented at Tsutaya… (^-^;)


  16. Pingback: Hey from Japan – Notes on Moving – THE JAPAN BLOG DIRECTORY

  17. Karma’s only a bitch when we’re one ourselves 🙂


  18. Michi says:

    Finding that wallet (with every penny intact no less) after crazy rush-hour circumstances is a miracle! Only in Japan, I suppose. There’s no way that would happen elsewhere! Just the opposite – I can feel my backpack occasionally getting fondled on the metros.


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