So I Moved to Japan...

Music, Art and Educational Opinion.
From Osaka, Japan to you.

Nothing to Lose (except my umbrella)

Three months ago I left my laptop bag (computer inside) in the front basket of my bicycle. I had been studying Japanese on my computer at a cafe and decided to stop by a department store on my way back home to look for some things for my new place. More than an hour later, when I returned to my bike, I realized what I had done.

Luckily, the computer was still exactly where I left it.

A friend of mine once left his camera in the park and didn’t realize it was lost until a few days later. Someone newer to Japan might’ve just given up hope, but knowing better, he simply checked the district’s lost & found website and found the camera immediately.

I’ve accidentally left groceries in my bicycle basket overnight outside my apartment (and my neighborhood is considered sketchy by Japanese standards) and had my wallet fall out of my pocket at a sushi restaurant (where it sat untouched for hours). I’ve forgotten my bow-tie at a pub, my water-bottle at the gym and my notebook almost  everywhere. I’m what you’d call a forgetful person. 

Time after time, though, my possessions were recovered unscathed. Things were good.

The Pièce de résistance of my stupidity however, came last Thursday night. After drinking with friends at a local bar, I left my unnecessarily expensive wristwatch (a high-school graduation present from my lovely grandmother) on a side table hidden from the bartender, but visible to customers. I had taken it off to play video games.

If I had lost the watch for good I would’ve never forgiven myself. Luckily though, I didn’t have to learn my lesson the hard way. The bar owner handed it to me with a smile the second I walked into the bar the next evening. He offered me some pretzels too.


So, you might be wondering, what’s the purpose of this article? Is it to prove how lucky I am? Is it about how Japanese people are more honest than Westerners? Well, i suppose both of those things are true to some extent (If you do have to leave something lying around in public, Japan is probably the place to do it; honestly, where else will high schoolers bring ¥1000 (about $12) to the police station if they find it on the floor?) But that’s not quite it.

What I really want to talk about is umbrellas.

Strangely enough, Japan’s nationwide good samaritanship does not extend to realm of umbrellas. I have had several $1 umbrellas stolen from me, and I never knew why.

Turns out this is not an uncommon experience.


According to my friend Akio, for those in need, umbrellas theft is considered fair game in Japan. Businesses will often give away free umbrellas to customers if it starts raining suddenly (one of the schools I work at has a room full of them), but if someone finds themselves caught somewhere else, it is perfectly acceptable to just take one off of someone’s bike, or from the hallway of an apartment, or from somewhere in the cafe/restaurant/library, wherever.

So there you have it.

- Suitcase full of unmarked bills: safe.

- Anpanman umbrella: don’t blink. 

might need one of these.

  1. 345triangle said: man i left my camera bag somewhere in the middle of moving to tokyo and i am yet to see it returned, despite it having my business card inside T_T though i wouldn’t even think about it being returned anywhere else, so there’s that i guess.
  2. soimovedtojapan posted this
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