lost property

Honest Tokyo: 3.3 billion yen of lost cash handed in to police in 2014 alone

Imagine this. You’re at a fireworks festival with almost one million people in attendance. Everyone is scrambling for a place to sit and stampeding for the exit when it’s over. In between standing in line for a tasty treat and being dazzled by the fireworks spectacle, you realize something terrible. You’ve lost your wallet. Now what?

In Japan, you just go to the nearest police box, or koban! In 2014 alone, a stunning amount of cash and lost possessions was turned into police stations around Tokyo. In cash alone, over 3.3 billion yen was turned in. That’s a whopping US$27.8 million picked up and taken to the authorities. Could that happen anywhere else in the world?

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Things left behind on Japanese trains: A sad photographic collection to make you wonder

From the super-efficient bullet train cleaning team that whizzes in and out in a seven-minute turnaround, to stories of entertainingly brilliant station customer service, there are heaps of things to love about Japan’s rail system, which ranks amongst the cleanest and most punctual in the world.

One other cool thing about Japanese trains – or perhaps about Japanese society in general – is that if you lose something, you stand a pretty good chance of getting it back again. Even valuable items like smartphones or wallets often end up handed in to lost property and returned to their original owner.

Today, though, we bring you a collection of some of the more unusual items left on trains around Japan – things that made other commuters go “Huh? Why’d someone have that on the train anyway?”

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First ever taxis installed with lost property detectors to go into operation this year

How many times have you come home in a taxi after a great night out, only to later realise that you’ve left your phone, bag or wallet in there when you jumped out? When you’re running low on fumes, or perhaps a leaking a few of your own after a heavy drinking session, checking for forgotten items is usually the last thing on your mind, but it can really put a dampener on an evening when we realise we’re missing something valuable.

Thankfully, help is at hand! Japan’s Kokusai Motors announced on September 9 that it is currently researching and developing a lost property detector system for use inside taxis as part of a joint venture with IDEA CROSS INC. The system is scheduled to enter trial stages this month and is expected to go into widespread use sometime this year.

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