The Japanese Whirlwind Part V: Where’s my phone?!

On the way back to Tokyo from Hiroshima, we decided to make a stop at Mount Fuji. We were not prepared to hike to the top, but we did take a bus up to the fifth station and had a look around. Beautiful view and the weather actually cooperated and gave us a fairly good look at Fuji-san!…but on our return from Fifth Station, I had some phone trouble! 

I left my phone on the bus. Well, I did not leave it, it actually slipped out of the outer pocket of my backpack…or it did not really make into the pocket when I thought I put it there. I noticed my phone’s absence this time as we were walking to lunch. I again raced back to the scene of my negligence. The bus was gone. I went to the ticket booth to check lost and found. No luck. I described my phone to a very abrasive woman, or so she seemed. Due to my limited Japanese language skills, the conversation was a rough one.

Me: Sumimasen (Excuse me)

Woman: Hai. (Yes)

Me: Watashi wa iPhone basu. (my iPhone is on bus)

Woman: Bus gone

Me: Basu wa nanji modotte desuka (time bus will come back?)

Woman: Niji gogo (2pm)

Me: (looking sad) Watashi wa iku ichiji gogo. (I go at 1pm)

Woman: Chottomatte kudasai (just a moment please)

After five minutes, she came back with a sheet of paper and a pen.

Woman: (In broken English) Write name…color  phone…time on bus…come back two hour.

Me: Hai. (Yes)

And then I left the bus station and walked slowly back to the shopping area where I left the others to enjoy lunch. What else could I do? I felt embarrassed and defeated. My spirits soon lifted as I saw Melissa, Mike, and Judy headed my way. They had McDonald’s sacks! I told them I had to be at the bus station in two hours, but I had no idea if my phone would turn up. So, we all went back to the bus station and ate lunch on the benches. Despite the reason we were eating on benches at a bus station, it was a nice lunch. We sat, ate, relaxed, and chatted. It turned out to be quality family time!

Confession time. I had a lot of phone trouble on this adventure! I left my phone on a train in Kyoto. Discovered it was missing as I glided down the escalator in Kyoto Station. I raced back up the stairs and searched all the train cars like I was Flash! Found it on the last car sitting majestically on the window ledge. I left my phone at a Disney Fast Pass station near the Buzz Light Year ride (sorry family,  I did not tell you about that one!  I was too embarrassed after all the other times!). At Nara, all of my WhatsApp information disappeared and I have no idea why! It was very hot and humid and I think I must have accidentally clicked a button or two taking it in and out of my pocket…not really sure. Now I back those chats up! Another lesson learned.

Almost two hours to the second, the abrasive Japanese woman appeared with my phone!  Apparently, the woman I thought was so abrasive, was just trying to figure out how to help me the best she could. She radioed the bus driver, he gave the phone to another bus driver headed back to the station. The woman met the driver, took my phone, and gave it to me, smiled, and walked off. I thanked the woman and then the bus driver who was still standing there. I wanted to thank the woman again, but she was gone. I went to the ticket booth and a different lady was working. The woman who went out of her way was nowhere to be found!  As I walked back to our lunch benches, I felt bad for thinking she was abrasive. She was just matter-of-fact and to the point to get the job done. I soon found that I was smiling, so Melissa and Mike smiled, but Judy was crying! The woman’s kindness deeply effected us all. Any other country, my phone would have been gone and probably ended up in some pawn shop or sold on the Internet. In Japan, people return lost items to whom they belong from umbrellas, to pens, to wallets, to phones. The Japanese often go out of their way to help and this incident is proof of that fact. Domo Arigato Japan!

More Japan exploration in part six of our family adventure is coming soon, so keep checking A Thousand Miles from Kansas…or better yet, subscribe and follow so you don’t miss a thing! 


On the train somewhere between Hiroshima and Fuji. Japan. July 2019. \


Fuji-san on a semi-clear day. Fuji, Japan. July 2019.


Mike and Judy at Fuji-san! Mt. Fuji, Japan. July 2019.

© 2019 Gregory Vessar. All Rights Reserved.

Categories: Family, Japan, TravelTags: , , ,


  1. You’re getting old bro! Judy was crying, wow!

    Liked by 1 person

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