Lost in Translation

Everyone has their own little personal quirks and one of mine is that I habitually misplace things. Traveling only exacerbates the issue, since being on the move means that it’s even more difficult to track everything. On my most recent trip to Japan I lost not fewer than five separate items – and I’ve got four back!
Japan is amazing that way – three of the lost items were rather simple for this efficient and incredibly honest society – a blanket left at a ryokan was takybbined to my final hotel, a sheaf of papers dropped (yes, I was so tired I just dropped them as I walked around a hotel resort property and didn’t notice for 15 minutes) was found and sent directly back to my address in the US and at least one bag left in a store was exactly where I left it when I returned. My favorite hair clip, alas, is probably never going to be seen again.
But the most incredible (to an American) “return” was the lost CD case. We finally figured out that we’d lost the case of movie CD’s on the last morning when we couldn’t find it after repacking all the bags the previous night. Calls to all 5 previous hotels yielded nothing – but did get us a second call back from the Four Seasons to let us know they’d checked everywhere even though we’d been there 4 nights previously. We doubted our memories – maybe we hadn’t packed it. We hoped we’d left it in the room in Matsumoto; one of the only hotels without enough English to check ourselves, so we were having a colleague call when they had a moment. We headed to the airport – really hoping we’d just for forgotten it at home. In a last act of desperation, we asked at the American Airlines check-in counter to see if we’d left it on the plane on our inbound trip 7 days previously – we described the case and its contents and the lovely lady at the counter called it in. We left, went through a little hoo-ha at security check (note to self: do NOT try to take sake on board with you – it’s LIQUID!) and arrived at the lounge to await our flight. Where, when we checked in, they handed us the missing CD case!!! Found on the plane when we came in!
Maybe this happens all the time in the US and we just don’t hear about it. Yeah, right… a CD case with a new copy of “The Hangover” is left on a plane and 7 days later you return to the check-in counter at the airport and they locate said item and have it delivered to the club or departure gate so that it arrives before you do.
So, at least in Japan, my personal quirk doesn’t create quite so many problems for me – items are rarely lost – only understanding in translation.

2 Responses to “Lost in Translation”

  1. Paul says:

    The same kind of thing does happen in America. The only difference is that in general, the item is retained by the person who found it. I guess it’s our way of equal distribution?


  2. Yuki says:

    I left my purse at a MacDonald in the middle of Tokyo on a weekend night. The place was packed with young people. I realized that 20 minutes later, panicked, ran back, and found it exactly where I left. Unbelievable. But I have a very good experience with American people, too. One morning, I got a phone call from a Starbucks saying they had my wallet. I was there the last night! They saw my ID and called me. How nice! Anyway, Japan is still a very safe place, service is great and people are generally kind.

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