The Danger of Bringing the Japan Logic to Taiwan

I haven’t been updating much because of a lot of administrative matters that had to be done for our move to Taiwan but I’m grateful for everyone’s concern on this move, which I shall come around to writing. But I’d like to write about an experience recently at a foodcourt in Zhongshan, a.k.a the Orchard Road of Taiwan.

As everyone knows, Japan is a very safe country. Sometime in 2011-2012, I lost my card holder containing all of my credit cards and point cards and had them returned to me intact after 3 days. Over 10 years ago, one of my friends lost his digicam on a train and it was returned to him intact after a week. On top of that, he lost it in Tokyo but later traveled to Aomori and the Tokyo police actually had it delivered to the police post in Aomori for him. This sense of security in Japan is very dangerous especially if you bring it to other countries.

Just yesterday, I placed my wallet on the counter while holding cash to pay for the food I ordered. As I was paying, another man came over to collect his food at the counter. As he placed his hands on the tray and pulled it toward him, I realised he was standing in between me and my wallet, so I thought to collect my wallet after he leaves. However, to my surprise, he casually raised his left hand, placed his hand on my wallet and picked it up. I hurriedly said to him, “Hey, that’s mine.” He placed it back down and walked away with his food, not saying anything.

At that moment, I had originally thought he could’ve mistaken the wallet for his. But thinking about it, it doesn’t make sense because he came to collect his food; not make payment. Further, there was nothing in his hand when he came over, so it was quite likely he had thought to 順手牽羊 and steal my belongings.

When I related this to D, she mentioned that yesterday the TV also reported news of a woman losing her bag a similar way at a restaurant, so that makes it even more likely it was intentional the man was trying to casually take away my wallet.

After 10 years in Japan, I think I need to re-learn to be more careful about my belongings since no other country is as safe. Even in Singapore, you know that when you lose your gadget, you can say bye bye to it. I guess that could be why the Japanese do not have a positive perception of foreigners. After all, we’re all more flawed in terms of such ethics.


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