It Might Happen Somewhere Else?
When we are going through a difficult situation it doesn’t seem either humorous or amazing does it?
Sometimes though, when the difficulty is either resolved or we have moved on past the difficulty in our thinking, later on we can look back and think, ‘that was amazing, how did that happen?!’
Recently, I had just such an experience. Let me set the scene and start at the beginning of this chain of events.
How it started…
A week or so ago, I received a reminder card from the Immigrations bureau telling me that my Japanese Residency card needed renewing soon. In order to renew it I needed a recent photo of myself, the kind you use for a passport.
In order to renew the card, I would have to go to the Immigrations Bureau in Osaka. For me that is a 4-hour round trip journey.
As it happens, I travel to Osaka one day a week for work. But getting the timing of the Immigrations Bureau open hours and my work time to match wasn’t that simple.
As it happens, my work place asked me if I could come in early to go over material, I would be using for my next teaching session, which was the following evening.
Suddenly, the opportunity opened up to combine these two tasks, to go in early and get my new residency card. Except for the fact that I didn’t have a photo?
There is a photo booth in Sasayama, so I decided to ‘push together’ a few different tasks. I needed to visit an eye clinic, get the photo and be on time for my next online teaching job at home that evening!
Needless to say, ‘haste makes waste’ and along the way in my push to get things done, I didn’t get it right!
It was true, by going to the Immigrations Bureau the following day, along with my Osaka teaching work, yes, I would save the train fare and time going to and from Osaka, but I wouldn’t have time today to check things as I was doing them that afternoon.
The eye clinic
It was the first time for me to go to the eye clinic, after getting a lot of dust in my eyes recently, that left them red and irritated.
As it happens, here in Japan, every type of clinic that you go into, and have something done, they make you an appointment card. It’s the size of a business card with your name, patient number, their clinic name, tel. number, open hours, etc. on it.
We end up collecting a lot of these and other discount ‘points cards’ from different shops, stores, gasoline stands etc. In fact, I have a whole pouch that I keep with me, for all these pieces of plastic!
At the eye clinic, in my haste to move on to my next task, as I paid the clinic fee, I quickly stuffed their card into my wallet, instead of the pouch. (Call me old fashioned, but I still pay for most things with cash! Which is still very popular in Japan).
It’s winter so it gets dark early and my next stop was the photo booth, located in a dimly lit area outside a rental shop. While setting up for the photo and getting out my wallet to put the coins in the machine, my phone alarm reminder went off! Ahh! My teaching class starts in 15 minutes, gotta hurry!
Without noticing, my wallet fell on the floor. I rushed through the photo making process and dashed off to my class. ‘Mission accomplished,’ I thought as I arrived home!
All was well until the next day, I got to the train station and tried to take out my wallet to pay for the coin parking lot. What? Where’s my wallet! It’s gone!
Retracing in my mind, the last place I had it was the photo booth. “Ok, I have enough time before the train leaves, I’ll go check, although, it’s been half a day”? I checked around the photo booth, no luck! It wasn’t there.
Should I ask in the shop? But I can’t miss the train or I will be too late for the Immigrations Bureau. I can phone them later.
Misterious phone calls
I had been on the train for about ten minutes when a call from an unknown number came in, I didn’t accept it.
As a culture note, it is considered very rude in Japan, to talk on the phone while travelling on the train.
Before reaching Osaka, the number had called me two more times. Finally, while walking from my final station to the Immigrations Bureau, I had the chance to call, but before I could, they were calling me again?!
The person on the other end explained, “This is Doctor Ogino, from the Eye Clinic. Someone found your wallet, saw the appointment card from yesterday and brought it to our clinic, thinking it would be the fastest way to return it to you”.
(Note: The clinic is on the other side of town from the photo booth)
“We have your wallet here at the clinic, if it’s ok with you, we’ll look after it until you can come and pick it up.”
As it turns out, the person who found my wallet and took it to the clinic, didn’t leave any contact information for me, so I have no way to thank them. Such is my experience in Japan, there are so many ‘Good Samaritans’, who are solely interested in helping someone else, without any thought of a ‘return on their investment’.
And in case you are wondering, yes, of course everything was in my wallet, in a different arrangement, where the person had probably searched for my ID, but everything was there, including 21,000-yen cash, credit card, debit card and the appointment card that I always put in its pouch, but this one time I had put in my wallet. That was the reason the finder could locate me!
Which left me with this thought, ‘That was amazing, just one time I put the card in my wallet, how did that happen?!
My answer to that question is, someone I can’t see, is watching out for me and for you too!
As an end note, it is a good idea, at least in Japan, to have your name and especially contact info in your wallet!