Sunday, May 16, 2010

When You Leave Your Only Set of Keys on the Train

Sunday night I was getting home from visiting Stephen in Hiroshima. I had several bags in my hands and so wanted to make the whole process easier by carrying my keys with me instead of rummaging for them in the darkness once I got to my house. I set my house keys on the seat next to mine. And promptly forgot them as I left the train.

I stopped in my tracks five minutes later when I realized my plan went horribly awry and instead of being slightly inconvenienced at my doorstep I was majorly inconvenienced given that my keys, now heading to Himeji, are in fact the only set of keys I have to my house which I dutifully lock.

Thankfully, due to the recent temperature drops and hikes I had left one of my sliding glass windows unlocked and so was able to burgle my house.

Though people in the inaka might be nosey they are not thieves so leaving my door unlocked Monday wasn't too much of a concern. I was loaned a key from my BOE that owns the house I live in.

"Be careful" I was told. I wasn't about to remind them that's exactly what they told me when I first arrived and was given only one key to my house. "There is no copy. Be careful."
Fortunately I happen to live in Japan. As difficult as Japan made my sprained ankle recovery, it has made the return of my lost keys incredibly easy.

I was fretting over asking my co-workers to call the train station and inquire. They're busy people. They don't need another task. Then I saw a wonderful poster in the train station with graphics and happy-looking people with a number to call in case you left something behind on the train.

And I realized though it wouldn't be perfect, I could certainly call and explain what I needed. I prefaced my conversation with explaining my limited Japanese. I spoke to two station staff people. The one in Himeji was far more exasperated with my Japanese (he referred to me as a gaijin to his co-workers which is short for gaikokujin and is the difference between saying "foreigner" and "person from a foreign country"). But in the end I was able to confirm my lost keys were in Himeji.

What came next surprised me. I was expecting to me be making a trip to Himeji to pick them up.
Nope. This is Japan and in Japan though you might be referred to as a "foreigner" your lost item will be delivered right to your home.


So when you leave your only set of keys on the train in Japan, don't worry too much. But it helps to have left a window open to facilitate the burgling of your home in such a case.

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