Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Recently I had a coworker lose a laptop in Japan. She scoured her traveling path and finally it was found by the taxi company a couple days later. Untouched. It made me think of some of the securities I have taken for granted while living here.

Let me tell you a story of a bus stop. Public transportation is very popular in Japan as the routes are extensive and the buses, surprisingly, prompt. Bus signs are provided by the city, but often, especially outside the major cities, they will not provide seats or an overhang. On my morning walk I pass such a bus stop where someone has put two little stools. For three years these stools have stood their guard over the bus stop. They are not chained down, dirty, broken, or vandalized. They just sit there.

I dare you to put two stools next to a bus stop in the U.S. and see if they are still there in excellent condition in two weeks.

Japan is unusual like that. No one really disturbs things that don't belong to them. There's not a lot of randomized anger incorrectly directed. For example, people leave their flowerpots out next to busy streets and no one messes with their flowers, picks them, or kicks the pot over. Can the same be said for our neighborhoods in the U.S.? It seems like everyone can tell a story of someone who had their Christmas decorations stolen.

The children walk unaccompanied to school. Some, as young as five, get on trains and buses by themselves for the daily trek. Very different from the daily routine of most American students.

Living in Japan has been an astonishingly safe experience and I am really going to miss that.

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