Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Trust System

It's been a rainy Saturday. On my way to the station in Uji, I passed a table placed on the sidewalk. On top of it were about half a dozen baskets of oranges. And a tin box with a slit for you to deposit coins. And a sign. Since it was raining pretty steadily, I didn't read the sign carefully but I could spot "300円" written near the bottom. If you're playing along at home, this most likely means that a basket of oranges (I'm guessing you get six) cost 300 yen. And you should deposit your coins into the tin box. Sorry. Exact change please.

As I walked, I marveled at how something like this can exist in the world.* I grew up in NYC. People from my hood would laugh at things like this. And then take the tin box. And the oranges. And the friggin' table. My buddy Ric just told me that a friend of his -- a visitor from Japan -- absentmindedly left her purse in the restroom of a restaurant for a few minutes. When she realized her mistake and went back to retrieve it, it was already gone. Along with money and her passport. Yeah, I know. Providing one anecdote to prove my point is lame. But you get my drift, right? Why can't oranges on tables in the rain exist in Brooklyn? Or the Sunset?


In other news, the final box from San Francisco was opened and emptied today. We managed to fit all the stuff into our place. The bookcase that I found on the curb helped a lot. Free furniture is always helpful.

On the other hand, this one didn't help with the unpacking at all:

* At the exact moment that I was marveling, I was also thinking that I wasn't surprised. This was Japan after all. You lose your wallet on the bus here and it will make its way back to you; this happened to a friend of mine.
It was a weird collision of feelings -- a sense of amazement and, at the same time, actually thinking that this is how things work here and you know this is how things work here and yes, I expect things to work here this way.