They told us money doesn’t grow on trees, but why didn’t they tell us it flows in aqueducts?

Its parents’ duty to make sure their kids grow up with not only a good moral compass, but also the tools to achieve self-sufficiency and financial responsibility. That’s why just about all of us, at some point, had our mom or dad tell us, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”

And you know what? Your parents were entirely right. Money doesn’t grow on trees. Instead, it just comes flowing down the river.

OK, so maybe not every river is a venue for literal cash flow, but on Tuesday, that’s exactly what happened in Toyama City, the prefectural capital of Toyama. Around noon, people started noticing pieces of paper flowing or floating in the water of an aqueduct in the city’s Okutanbomachi neighborhood, and when they went in for a closer look, they discovered that these weren’t just any scraps of paper, but 10,000 yen (US$73) bills, the largest denomination of paper money used in Japan.

We’re not just talking an errant piece of paper or two that might have slipped out of someone’s wallet and been blown by the breeze into the waterway, either, as at least 60 bills, or a total of 600,000 yen (US4,380), was fished out of the stream and turned in to the police.

▼ Another section of the aqueduct, which several cross streets run over

Online reactions to the unexpected waterflow windfall have included:

“Something smells fishy here…”
“That money has to be involved in some sort of crime, right?”
“You could say this is money laundering.”
“My guess is that someone got drunk and accidentally dropped the money in the water.”
“Oh, yeah, that’s my money. Definitely mine.”
“This is the kind of community beautification project I can really get behind.”
“I bet people are gonna be lined up all along the stream tomorrow.”

While more than a few commenters are thinking this must be the end result of some shady activity, an honest citizen carrying 600,000 yen in cash wouldn’t be completely unheard of in Japan. Cash is still widely used even for major transactions, with many people paying not only their utility bills but even their taxes, and in some cases apartment rent, in-cash and in-person at the convenience store or realtor’s office. If someone was heading out to take care of a handful of large payments all at once, it’s not unimaginable that they’d be carrying a sizeable stack of 10,000-yen bills. On the other hand, what is hard to imagine is a law-abiding person walking around with 600,000 yen, losing it, and not bothering to even file a report with the police about it.

As for what’s going to happen to the money, as with other found property, the police will be hanging on to it for three months, after which, if the original owner doesn’t come forward, it may be granted to whoever turned it in. However, the untraceable nature of cash means that it’s going to be hard for anyone claiming to be the rightful owner of the money to prove so, and this may eventually wind up as a case of “finders keepers.”

For the time being, though, it’s the weirdest thing to happen in Toyama since those tourism posters of an old man seemingly saying “I’ll have sex with you” and the meteorite pickle weight that got turned into a set of katana.

Source: Tulip TV (1, 2) via Yahoo! Japan News, YouTube/日テレNEWS
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