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Monday, September 12, 2011

Subtokyo Article 1: Japanese Manner and Morals



Hey guys, Alex K here. So I've been contemplating on actually blogging on my blog instead of posting just links to my videos here like I usually do. Today something interesting happened that made me ponder and want to write an article about it. Above is the video I took today. Long story short- I had dropped my iPhone while riding my cub/small motorbike. This usually never happens as I usually have my phone in my jean pocket, however today I had it in my work clothes which happened to have a gaping hole in it.

This was the first ever occasion that I had lost something that was very very important to me. There are three things I carry and NEVER lose: my wallet, my train pass, and my iPhone (so far). This was just a real accident, and I was freaking out as I had data and important information on my phone.

So well, everyone around me suggested to go to the nearest police box (Koban as they call it here) and ask. I went there 30 minutes after losing it and described my phone with detail such as its color, make, network company, etc while filling out a form with my information on it.

Once I finished the officer turned around, opened the middle drawer of a cabinet and there was my iPhone in a plastic bag with a document. I was shocked, astonished, dumbfounded. Within half an hour of losing my phone it was back in my hands.

That's basically the summary of the video if you were too lazy to watch it. After posting it on youtube I got several comments on how lucky I was and that it would never happen elsewhere.

However, I started to wonder about Japanese culture and think, "was I really lucky?"
I'm not saying that I wasn't lucky- indeed I was. It's just that if you think about it majority of Japanese people in Japan have this mannerism and just type of culture to do what is right. It's what I learned from books and TV and such, where Japanese people pick up anything from wallets, cash bills, even a 10 yen coin and return it to a Police office. WHY? It's their culture, their common sense and what they are taught to do. I had this knowledge in my head but to see it and experience it first hand was quite something.

I got a lot of comments where people said, "such thing would never happen in my country" or "that would never happen in America."

It wouldn't? I really believe that there are, in the population of jerks and douche bags, good people out there. I've met them. Maybe it isn't in our culture to pick up a quarter or $20 bill and say "hey let's see who this belongs to!" But I'm sure there are good minded people who would try to find the owner of a cell phone when they find one lost.

Chances are low, especially with a popular brand such as the iPhone, but still it is possible. More than likely some person would pick it up and keep it to themselves yes. I would be very lucky if this happened back home in America. I would be "lucky" there.

So in essence compared to America or other countries, this occurrence was not lucky- but a rather normal thing here in Japan. Even my father who just came back from the States had lost his wallet and had it returned to the Police Office. When you lose something, someone would pick it up and do just that. I guess what I'm saying is that it's astonishing to observe this high level of moral and high mannerism of this country.

However, being in Japan almost two years now, I believe I have taken granted of such peoples respect. Whether or not I was lucky from an observational point of view, I am extremely grateful that a person picked up my phone, took it to the Police Box, and did not leave a name expect anything back. I don't know who you are, but I SINCERELY would like to THANK YOU, on behalf of myself and Subtokyo.
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Well with that out of the way, you can look at things from the flip side as well. There could have been a chance where some bad mannered teenager picked it up and kept it, or some old jerk could of done so as well. As I explained earlier though, the chances of THAT happening would be low- making me rather UNLUCKY if that sort of thing happened.

I've commented back on several peoples comments with the opinion I have in this article and had feedback agreeing with me. What do you think about Japans morals and mannerisms?

Thanks for reading ;)