Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Professional Lost and Found

In America, locating the 'lost and found' is harder than finding your vanished object. When something is lost, we've come to immediately accept that it's never coming back. Somewhere along the line a wandering individual has claimed it for themselves, or a careless janitor tossed it into a metal cylinder.
In Japan, you retain ownership of your possessions whether they are in your pocket or abandoned on a park bench. Most foreign residents have a story of leaving behind their wallet only to have it returned in-tact within 24 hours. Great care is given to ensure that everyone finds their lost objects. Personally, I think it all boils down to responsibility and respect. Sure, who wouldn't wanted to swipe that Hello Kitty handbag for their own devices, but the fact remains: it's not ours to take.

As a high school teacher in Florida, I was aware that a lost and found existed, but was re-directed five times before finally meeting up with the 'man in charge.' This doofus made it seem that it was too much of a burden to be bothered with lost objects. The only thing about our school's lost and found that was apparent to everyone was how if something was not claimed within 10 days it became the property of whoever found it.

Things are different in Aomori, Japan. Well, a little. I still have no idea who's in charge, but it doesn't matter. If something is found it's immediately photographed and placed on a posted flyer. Talk about convenience. Missing a green mitten? "Oh look there it is on the flyer, it's found!" This could be embarrassing if you lost your Totoro underwear, but at least it's efficient. 

When I came to Japan, I was lost, and now...I'm found.

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