Friday, November 04, 2005

Banking in Japan

For the five months I lived in Kumagaya, I had an account at the Asahi Bank, aka the Great Bank of Miffy the Bunny. I'm serious. Their mascot was Miffy. I had her with some ducks on my bank card. (Ok, yes, I chose to have that image, but still, it's the bank of Miffy.)

In North America, the ATMs are open outside of banking hours. That's why we have them. You can go to an ATM at your bank on the weekend or a holiday or after hours, and you can take out money.

Not so, young grasshopper, in Japan. In Japan, if the Bank of Miffy was closed, then the bank's ATM is closed. Now, we (myself and the other teachers) got around this by going to a 7-11 or a general ATM in the train station. (The one in the train station was open until 8:30 or 9:00 pm, which was often when I was getting home.)

However, the Bank of Miffy tended to close on odd dates. It had its own strange bank holidays. We're not certain if this had to do with branch renovations or standard holidays, but the Bank of Miffy was often closed.

And one long weekend where myself and other teachers had planned to go to Tokyo, we went to take out money and discovered the Bank of Miffy was closed. Well, no worries, we went to the train station. Only to discover, the train station ATM could not access our accounts.

When the Bank of Miffy is closed, they are closed.

I also have a story concerning a money order my grandmother tried to send me for my birthday while I was living on Shikoku. The money order was made out to one Japanese bank, not the Japanese bank I had an account with. On Shikoku, we had an account with a bank only on Shikoku. So this money order had to be processed through a bank on the main island, who took some of it for the fee, and then it had to be processed by my bank, who would also take a portion for the fee.

I got a call one day, and after the Japanese teacher spoke to banker in Japanese on my behalf, I was informed if I wanted to cash the money order, I would receive about $4 after the two banks had taken their fees off. Did I still wish to cash the money order?

Well, no, said I. I did not. Oh well, it was the thought that counts, right? And at least the bank called me to ask instead of just taking the fees.


Rachel Vincent said...

Okay, I'm so jealous! You lived in Japan? You must have so much fiction material just waiting to be taken straight from your brain through your fingers, and onto the screen.

I never get to go anywhere. (pout)

By the way, I answered your great question on my blog in a really, really long post. Sorry. And I'm not sure if I actually answered it at all. But, there you go. It was fun to think about.

Also, I love the name of your blog. It really brings to mind a vivid image in so few words. Fantastic!

c.rooney said...

Japan and I were first introduced to each other by my friend Yukiko in late spring of 2000, we had whirlwind romance that lasted a month. Then from Aug 2002-April 1st, 2003, Japan and I moved in together. It was a passionate love affair that fissled around January then exploded in a messy break-up. Enough time has passed that I'm willing to try and be friends again, but we can't ever live together.

I think Fox Hunt has been wonderful for working out all the emotions that living in Japan generated. Especially that feeling that no matter how hard I tried, I would never really belong there. It's kind of heartbreaking, but at the same time, helps me sort of understand what it might feel like to live in a human-dominated world when you're not human.

As for the name of the blog, thank you. It's the title of song by The Calling. The first time I heard the song, for some reason, I went "this is Armadeus." So when I started the blog, I decided that title meant something to me, but was vague enough to be enticing to others.

(Do my comments on blogger count towards the 50,000 words?)