A Travellerspoint blog

Wrote My New Song on a Five Dollar Bill

One of the things I'd heard about Tokyo was that people were more likely to chase after you to return a wallet you'd left behind than they were to pickpocket you. I didn't realize that the chasing after you to return items referred to dropped ten-yen coins. I dropped one as I was on the stairs at the train station, and made the conscious decision not to go find it because my train was pulling in. Before I got on it, a woman tapped me on the shoulder and told me I'd dropped it. I thanked her, but needed to wonder how many people in the US would do that.

If, on the other hand, I'd dropped a one yen coin, I don't think anyone would have even picked it up. Those are some of the most useless coins I've ever seen. No machines will take them- typically, the smallest piece of currency they take are ten yen coins. The price you pay for most items in Japan is the price that they have displayed, and that's usually divisible by ten. And you don't tip waiters. So the good news is that there's not a whole lot that will give you one or five-yen coins. The bad news is if you do get them, you just need to hang on to them for a while until you get five or ten of them.

I like five hundred yen coins. Partially because I like the idea of coins that are worth that much. They're also really shiny. I'm not sure if they're newer or just less frequently used, but every five hundred yen coin I've seen has been really bright and shiny. (There's also not a hole in it, unlike the five and fifty yen coins.)

Moral of this story is that I've grown a lot more used to paying for things with coins. The smallest bill is 1000 yen, and most of my purchases are below that. I have yet to be able to consistently take the change out, sort through it, put the appropriate amount on the counter, and put the rest back in my wallet without dropping anything, but I'm getting better at recognizing coins, at least.

One interesting aspect about class: the concepts make sense when I learn them in class, but if I'm looking ahead in the book, they don't. Even if it's something I've learned before, like how to make adjectives into adverbs. The one-line summary of the concept doesn't make sense until one of the teachers start explaining it, and then suddenly it does.

After class we went to Shibuya. Apparently clothing is the only food people need, or something. We left immediately after class, and had several delays, none of which had to do with lunch. Allegedly it was supposed to be a quick trip to get a couple of articles of clothing that were on sale. But when we arrived at the mall and tried to set a meet-up time: 'One hour? That's not possibly enough time.'

I was part of a group that splintered off, left that store immediately, and found lunch and a book store. I regret nothing.

Posted by Soseki 03:39

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