Let me start off by saying I’m not complaining at all. I think it’s wonderful, that people return things here in Japan. I remember my friend and fellow teacher, Koji finding money once, and taking it to the police station. I thought to myself “Now that’s pretty freakin’ honest.” With money, that’s not in a wallet, it can be extremely difficult to figure out whose it is. I don’t know about you guys but where I come from, when it comes to loose bills, there’s generally a finders keepers philosophy (you know…you find it…you keep it). If it’s an uncomfortably large amount of money, though, I think most people in America would return it (or just take a little and leave the bulk, lol ).
Now I know you can never generalize. There are plenty of Americans who don’t take things. I am also certain there are some Japanese people do steal. I mean there have to be some people who do, right? But I am so curious as to why you can leave something, even something valuable, laying around in this country, go back, and still be able to find it. It’s something I could never do in my hometown. When I’m in any public place in Georgia, I don’t leave ANYTHING lying around, because more often than not, it WILL get stolen.
I remember my freshmen year in college, I was studying for final exams and I just went to the bathroom, that’s all…the freakin’ bathroom, and a student actually stole my Biology book! During final exams no less!! Guess where I eventually found the book? At the bookstore! Someone wanted to make a few measly dollars by selling my book back to the bookstore for the textbook buyback program. I had thoroughly labeled my book, so it was very easy to identify. The clerk was nice enough to give me my textbook back at no charge.
But back to Japan. I have seen people pick up a person’s dropped item and literally chase after them to return it. I’ve seen it happen twice this week alone. I just wonder what that’s about. Why is the likelihood of finding your item higher than the not finding it in Japan? Why is it the opposite in many places in the U.S.?
I really would like to conduct an experiment, I’d like to put a hidden camera on a Japanese train car, and just leave an expensive item (like an iPad or something) laying on the seat. I’d just like to see what happens. I’d also like to do the same in America and compare the two. But I guess I don’t have an expensive item to blow, so I’ll have to hold on that experiment for a while.
I am a little stumped on this one and wanted to hear your thoughts? Why is the integrity factor so much higher in this country? I heard Please leave your theories, thoughts, and stories in the comments section below.
P.S.-If you want the perfect example of what I’m talking about, read Alana’s comment about her Kyoto Shinkansen experience in the “An Accidental, Pornographic, Stinky, Ironic Japanese Train Ride” post.
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