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Japan Lost Luggage

Christmas comes early as I get my camera returned safe and sound.
Christmas comes early as I get my camera returned safe and sound.

Many of you following me on Twitter saw that I forgot my camera bag on the train today with my Nikon D700 and lenses inside. When I got on the train I was standing so put the bag on the overhead rack. Half way through the journey I was able to sit down, and when I got off the train with other luggage, I totally forgot to check the rack above me.

The trains move pretty quick, so by the time I realized and turned around, the train was gone. Luckily, this happens all the time in Japan and their is a well coordinated system to get your property back. The station master rang down the line where someone was able to board the train, take my bag off and then hold it for me to come and pick up. Fortunately, people are normally honest.

I have actually left things on the train before, so should start to be more careful about it. When I went to pick up my bag, the station office was busy tagging some more property that had been handed in or found. Looks like they were being kept super busy by all the luggage coming in.

If I had been in another city in the world I might not have been so lucky to get my camera and passport back.

What have you left on a train or bus and got back safely?

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lithiumangel December 5, 2009 at 11:09 pm

Japan is great when you forget something; usually it’s right there where you left it (in a cafe or where ever)
I remember taking a friend with me to Japan for the first time and he was shocked how there were alot of bags with possibly expensive equipment such as laptops being left to “hold a seat” whilst somebody grabs a coffee or anything else.
As much as it saddens me to say; these things would’ve been stolen in the Netherlands.
Bike theft is the most common public theft there is; it’s almost as those things are public property in Amsterdam.
The only case where I forgot something in public transport was in a bus; and I left my Nikon external flash, tired after a night of club-shooting I took the camera out of the bag, and placed the flash next to me. Took a look at the pictures to kill time; and almost missed my bus stop; rushed out without grabbing the flash. I noticed as soon as the bus left me, went to the train station inmeadetly( it was the last bus) and the flash was already gone with the driver apparently having seen nothing πŸ™

In Japan the only thing i lost something, was a sony MP3 walkman, normally you’ll notice inmeadetly when you lose your music player as the music suddenly stops. But I wasn’t listening to it nor had my headphones in.
Crossed a wide road from the 7/11 in Ueno to the other side of the street in a rush as the lights were going red and alot of cars wanted to rush by.
As I was walking away from the road I heard tires screeching; i didn’t look back untill somebody was calling my attention; looking back I can see a guy was running towards me with my MP3 player in his hand, he had just gotten out of a car that was waiting at the previous stoplights who’d seen my Music player drop to the ground.

That would never happen in my part of the world πŸ™

shibuya246 December 5, 2009 at 11:32 pm

nice story. people go out of there way here to get the item back to you. It is a nice feeling πŸ™‚ Bikes and umbrellas have to be the exception though. Like you said, people treat them like public property to be borrowed whenever they want. Glad you got your MP3 player back. Good job the cars didnt crash. ^_^

whipcracker December 6, 2009 at 2:01 am

RT @Shibuya246: Japan Lost Luggage, Japan Living | Shibuya246
A great story, maybe other places should take up what Japan does. Cause there’s no way you leave anything like that laying loose, or Zip, just like that it’s gone over here. But when i used to work for walmart as a customer service supervisor, you wouldn’t believe the amount of things people would leave behind. We had 1 tote full of just cell phones,1 for wallets and another for misc. Shibuya, you were even able to get your money back from the 1 conbini you forgot it at πŸ™‚ Good to here you got your bag back at the next station. πŸ™‚ Thumbs Up to the people of Japan!

shibuya246 December 6, 2009 at 10:04 pm

must be on a lucky run. hope i can return the favor πŸ™‚

Smithy December 6, 2009 at 2:10 am

Just a country south here of lithiumangel and here too you would most likely never see your property back if you were to forget it on the train or leave it somewhere else. Quite sad.

Neksus December 6, 2009 at 4:17 am

Hehe, Italy here. I once ran to an old lady to give her some money she dropped rushing to the ticket machine.
She was happy.

Once gave back (and was difficult to find the person’s address), and had money put in my pocket by the owner as she thaough it was already gone and lost forever.

Lost house keys in school, cool key chain, a friend found a key in the same room two years later, stuck between tables (chem labs, so stuck between concrete), was my house gate’s key.

Forgot an umbrella, found it at the train station. Lost a book (university), never to be heard of again (was 50 euros worth).
Was friday night (21.30), and usually I got up at around 5.30-6.00 am. I was knackered. Didn’t realize until the day after when looking for it. It was well underlined and had resumΓ© pages (good too…).

All the stuff I found I tried to give it back, only once couldn’t and donated it (nike female clothes – put a sign on a tree as it was training apparel but no one ever claimed it).

I do have a social conscience as I didn’t grow up in a rich family, but quite a happy budgety one (means: to have fun had to use brains, not go shop).

This is one of the reasons why Japan in better than many other countries, even if there are flaws in other aspects.
I’d really like to be there and have some domain πŸ™‚

shibuya246 December 6, 2009 at 10:09 pm

sounds like you have done your fair share of losing and finding goods. looks like you went to quite a bit of effort to return it as well. good for you πŸ™‚ . To get a domain you have to have a company registered in Japan. It is one domain per company. You could register .jp domains though which are available to individuals.

Neksus December 7, 2009 at 5:23 am

I’d like to go there with a one way ticket. πŸ˜‰

katiemuffett December 6, 2009 at 8:12 am

This always amazes me. People actually run after you to return things that you left behind! You can walk around Tokyo at night with a sweet digi camera and not have to hide it under your coat when not using it! Blows my paranoid American mind.

Well, smaller cities in the UK like where I used to live (Chichester – super quaint) are extraodinarily safe compared with anywhere in the US. Even in small towns in America, everyone I knew had at least one valuable stolen in a given year (most often bicycles chained up right outside the owner’s apartment building – happened to me twice). In Chichester, I always held my seat in coffee shops with my laptop and handbag while I waited in the 45min queue. In 8 years, never had a single item stolen in the UK – and that’s with leaving them by accident and coming back. I’m sure London is different but I’d never live there anyway.

shibuya246 December 7, 2009 at 12:59 am

Chichester is a great town πŸ™‚ I just followed you on Twitter after seeing it in your profile here. Am going to check out your YouTube account as well. Thanks.

katiemuffett December 7, 2009 at 3:54 am

I loved living in Chichester – when were you there last? It went through a bit of a rough patch these past few years, but there’s a new campaign for it to be the first UK City of Culture in 2013. I could see myself living around there for good, to be honest.

My Youtube account is so random, just to warn you πŸ™‚

shibuya246 December 7, 2009 at 11:15 am

I visited about 10 years ago. I never heard of “City of Culture” before? sounds impressive.

Orchid64 December 6, 2009 at 9:04 am

My husband has left several things on trains and in cabs in Japan including a long, black coat, his wallet (with 20,000 yen, credit cards, and identification) and, of course, umbrellas. He never got anything back despite calling the subway stations and cab company immediately after realizing he’d left them behind. My guess is passengers just found them and kept them. I’ll granted that the chances of your getting an object you forgot some place back are higher in Japan, but it’s certainly not guaranteed.

He did once forget his wallet on top of a public phone and the shop the phone was in front of collected it. He went back to get it, and they wouldn’t give it back to him (despite his gaijin card with his name and picture being in the wallet) until he described the contents very carefully and thoroughly including the picture of me he had in it. :-p So, we did get one thing back with some effort.

shibuya246 December 6, 2009 at 10:13 pm

The rule seems to be if you can describe the goods accurately then you are the owner πŸ˜‰

salvidali December 6, 2009 at 1:17 pm

A number os years ago my wife and I visited the New Otani Hotel in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, California – while there my wife left her handbag on a table in the garden area of the hotel, when we returned to see if it had been found, one of the guests (Japanese) had found her bag and returned it to the front desk! Glad you got your luggage returned. πŸ˜€

shibuya246 December 6, 2009 at 10:06 pm

thanks. good you got your bag back also πŸ™‚

applel0ve December 6, 2009 at 3:42 pm

Wow! It’s amazing how your luggage was returned! Where I live, if you leave something behind it is considered lost forever ><;

shibuya246 December 7, 2009 at 1:00 am

Lucky it wasn’t a Rilakkuma πŸ˜‰

alafista December 6, 2009 at 8:49 pm

I’m pretty sure if I lost my 5D MK II on the trains in Singapore, I would never have gotten it back

shibuya246 December 6, 2009 at 10:10 pm

Yes, I am very grateful πŸ™‚

Renechong December 7, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Good to hear that you got it back. Over here, it’s not even safe to put your belongings on the train.

MarijnRongen December 7, 2009 at 8:28 pm

Good you got it back, I saw it on Twitter. I myself have never forgotten anything in public places. I’m always very careful because it’s pretty much guaranteed you will not get it back when someone finds it in the Netherlands, as lithiumangel mentioned before.

shibuya246 December 8, 2009 at 12:09 am

Good point. Reminder to me to shop for new memory card for my brain or never leave Japan πŸ™‚

Voldemora April 19, 2010 at 7:40 am

Wow…. A friend visited Japan a few months ago. While being there she lost her train pass in one of the stations… and she got it back. Someone found it and returned it to an office or something and thet phoned her. For me that was the most impresive story from her trip for me…
Saddly honesty isn’t that popular in my country…. There is even a chance that you turn into the thing that is never returned…
During my school years thievery was common… I had pens, notebooks and other things stolen, I have to admit I was more lucky than other girls that had mony or celphones stoled.
In college I lost a library book at campus and it was never returned. It was probably one of my classmates.
Good you got your things back.

Boo January 29, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Thanks for all your comments. I have just left my small back pack with clothes, camera chargers and my journal inside. So nothing of value really but my journal has been with me my whole 16 months of travelling so has too much crucial and sentimental stuff!
Plus has new clothes only bought yesterday! I’m gutted.
Whats the chance then I get it back… Is uppose is the question I’m asking. I really hope Japan is as great as you guys say.
We shall see and I’ll keep you posted


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