Friday, February 6, 2009

Japan is incredibly safe!

I am continually amazed at how little people worry about theft in Japan. In the morning, delivery trucks leave boxes of new products in front of the stores. The boxes sit unattended on the sidewalk for hours before the stores open, and nobody takes anything!
In restaurants, I frequently see a woman, dining alone, leave her purse unattended on her chair while using the restroom. People sleep on the trains while leaving laptops on the shelf above the seats. Remember that I am in Tokyo, the capital city, not a rural community!

The shop pictured below sells antique coins, and displays them unattended in bins outside the store. Some of these coins sell for US$70 or more.
Bicycle locks here are a flimsy affair. There are several styles of lock. Generally they hold the rear wheel in place so the bike can't be ridden, but there is nothing to stop a thief from picking up the bicycle and carrying it away. Nonetheless, the bikes don't seem to get stolen. A bicycle with this type of lock in Fort Collins, my former town, would surely be stolen, (people will steal just a wheel or a seat if they can get nothing else) but not in Japan!

In the farm communities outside of Tokyo, and even in an agricultural area within Tokyo, farmers sell their produce at self-serve stands. Customers take what they want and leave payment in a tin can. Neither the produce nor the money in the can is protected from theft, but the system seems to work here. Below you can see yuzu, a special kind of oranges used for the flavorful peel, and a money can on the left.Of course, I am always careful about the way I carry money and belongings while traveling, but it's really pleasant to live in a place where I don't have to worry much about crime.


Anonymous said...

Here America you always have to be careful because there is a lot of toxic people that have to be watch carefully.


Anonymous said...

"Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you sit down quietly, may alight upon you." (Nathaniel Hawthorne)hylas

Carla said...

Maybe you should come to visit us in Ottawa, Canada, then. I once dropped a baby product new-in-a-box in a path, went back 2 days later and it was still there. I also go to the bathroom and leave my purse at the table all the time. When we go into a cafe, we'll leave the rather expensive bike stroller outside. Bikes do get stolen a lot though, so that doesn't work. In rural areas, I've also seen the same produce purchasing system. You know when I first moved here, I thought it was so weird too, but it is so nice to be in society where there is, in general, a good sense of fairness. Exceptions prove the rule, but there you go.

K said...

Carla, I'm so glad that in Canada, too, you can leave your purse at a restaurant table while using the restroom. In the U.S. I once received a chain email warning women not to hang their purses on the hook inside the toilet stall door, because a thief could reach over the door and grab your purse by the handle. What a society of fear we live in in the U.S.! Japan and Canada prove that it doesn't have to be that way! - Kimi