Japan is a very safe place in terms of crime and, unlike the rest of the world, you have a very, very good chance of getting your wallet back if you lose it. Thankfully I haven’t had to test this out myself.
It was with interest that I recently read that the Japanese police are getting constantly inundated with lost property of which 20% is made up by umbrellas. The Japanese are very umbrella-conscious and they are very much a way of life here whether it be p*ssing it down, snowing, sunny or even cloudy! It doesn’t really matter what the weather is doing as there’ll always be someone with their umbrella.
Obviously protecting yourself from the suns rays is a very serious issue these days but I am still bemused when I see people walking with their umbrellas up when its just light rain or not even raining. Not sure if its fashion here to have one or whether its just a way of life as most westerners on the whole tend to use umbrellas only when its very heavy rain. Trying to walk through a crowded melee of umbrellas can be an ardeous journey.
Also, in the UK I had one umbrella that lasted me over ten years but I get through about ten a year in Japan as they are so cheap and ubiquitous that its no real loss when you leave it on the train or at work or wherever.
The Japanese police now have sh*tloads of these umbrellas in lost property due to the honesty shown by Japanese people but only 1% of them are actually claimed. That is why the police want the six month rule for keeping such items to be reduced.
While it is refreshing that there are honest people in the world maybe it has gone too far with such a cheap item like umbrellas. I often ask ‘taiken‘ (demo) students what they would do if they found a 10,000 yen note (very roughly £5) on the street in order to test use of conditionals and not their honesty! The answer is nearly always to hand it in to the police or even just leave it! This way of thinking is so uncommon in the west that it seems almost wrong to hear their answers which surely can’t be right can it?!