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Old 01-13-2018, 10:00 AM   #14
Steve Rindsberg
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 6,904


During my wife's first trip to Japan, she was in the checkout line at a convenience store when the power failed as the clerk was ringing up the sale. The clerk, unfazed, pulled a calculator out from under the counter and continued totaling the transaction. Halfway through that, the battery ran out.

Guess what came out from under the counter next.

And on our first trip together, I thought it'd be clever to buy traveler's checks in yen so we wouldn't have to keep visiting banks to exchange money. Great idea, except nobody accepts traveler's checks, dollars or yen, in Japan except, wait for it, the same banks that exchange foreign currency.

So we went to one of those, filled out the necessary paperwork, handed over the $500 t-check, which at the exchange rates of the time would have been 75,000 yen or so. The teller's eyes practically popped out of her head. She called a supervisor, the supervisor called HER supervisor and so on until there were four employees having a *very* serious-looking discussion over my traveler's check. One of them was using a computer, two were using calculators of various sorts and the fourth, the top dog, was using ... tada. Sing along if you know the words.

After mystifiedly watching this drama for a while, it finally struck me: They'd probably never SEEN yen-denominated traveler's checks and hey, everybody knows that traveler's checks are in dollars. And dang, $75,000 worked out to one HELL of a lot of yen.

My very limited Japanese was just enough to get the idea of "Pardon me, but ... er ... it's YEN"

I don't think I've ever seen four more relieved-looking people.

Steve Rindsberg
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