Some people, generally those of a more relaxed and casual nature, tend to misplace important items more than others. For instance my best friend used to lose his car keys almost daily, invariably finding them after a few frenzied minutes searching, in a neglected pocket-that cargo pants were at their zenith in popularity didn't help. Then there are others who seem always aware of precisely where all their possesions reside and never lose a second retracing their steps. *1 I am always teetering on the fence above the former category. Though I have made many improvements over the years, I no longer write my name inside my jackets, I still find myself misplacing things fairly frequently. However, the items I lose lately generally fall into one of two categories. The first category is that of important things which I have put somewhere safe so I won't lose them. This is, of course, ironic but nevertheless quite common. The second is things which I lose but immediately know, upon finding them missing, where they are or at the very least how to go about retrieving them. Last weekend I found myself faced with both.
When I awoke Sunday morning I knew something was missing. I shuffled around the room half-heartedly locating all my personal effects one by one till I had everything gathered but my wallet. As I slunk back to bed, I had awoke too early due to my still curtain-less windows, I checked my phone for the time and found my wallet falling neatly into category two, or so I hoped. I had a message from the local koban (police) which I could only assume involved my wallet though I didn't understand anything in the message besides my name and, "koban." Later that afternoon, after breakfast, I decided I had better go see about my wallet. Assuming they wouldn't return it to me without some sort of identification I figured I would take my passport-problem was I couldn't find it. After some minutes of throwing books around and rechecking my important papers pouch a minimum of four times I started to get a smidge nervous. After a thorough scattering of papers and books across my floor I checked my accordian folder-reserved for important things-and the passport fell neatly into category two.
Prospective Reader: Sure. Some people lose things. Some people don't. Who cares?
Matt: Well, it was sort of an examination of the different ways in which people, specifically myself, lose them and the processes they/I go through recovering them.
Prospective Reader: A bit slow isn't it?
Prospective Reader: And aren't you supposed to write about Japan??
Matt: You interupted. I was just coming to that.
Prospective Reader: Well get on with it then.
I drove to the police office next to the station and parked my car where the taxis wait as I figured it would be an in-and-out thing. Inside the small building a police officer greets me from behind a short counter. I start to stumble through my request in Japanese-"Matt Dillinger." Stop, check for understanding. No response yet. "Yesterday, last night. My...my..." Damn, why didn't I look up the word for wallet. Damn. "Yesterday...I don't have." Someone walks in and the policeman politely extricates himself from my babbling and begins helping the new guy. He needs directions to the onsen nearby but is either a tad slow or just appreciates very exact instructions as they spend around ten minutes discussing it. As they prattle on in the background I look at the "wanted" posters posted around the room. The photographers have captured each one at his most unsettling and I recognize the creepiest as one wanted for murdering a british girl a while back. I notice with some shock a poster of a young woman and idly wonder what she had done. As I am compiling a list of possibilites the direction-lover and the officer finish up and after a quick laugh about something the officer returns to me. I am ready this time and hand him my phone with the message they left on my phone. He nods as he listens. Says, "ah, Matthew Dirinja-San," and goes to the back of the office returning a short time later with a binder full of various lost items including my wallet. Inside the Lost and Found book I see a hundred yen coin (less than a dollar) sealed inside a plastic baggie and with a full report attached. I smiled imagining someone finding the coin on the ground and brining it to the police station hoping the rightful owner would come to claim it.
After recieving my wallet, we spent between five and ten minutes trying to understand one another as there was evidently something else he wanted from me but I had no idea what it was. Eventually a pulled together and realized he was trying to call the person who had returned the wallet so I could thank them personally. He seemed unable to reach them and eventually indicated I could go. As I walked to the car I checked my wallet and noted without surprise that the two thousand yen that had been there the previous night was still there.
Prosective Reader: That's more like it. But the stuff about the wanted photos was a bit dark.
Matt: Sorry, that's what happened.
Prospective Reader: Just didn't really fit with the rest.
Prospective Reader: And what about Alex's request for more stories about kids?
Matt: On it, as soon as I start school again in September.
Prospective Reader: Good.
*1 Perhaps the energy spent keeing things uncomonly organized to make for easier retrieval later and filing the locations of all ones things in one's head is equal to that of an occasional few minutes lost to searching.