spot me a
As usual, we had rationed out the last of
our cash in an attempt to run out exactly on the last day. We
arrived at the airport by train, checked in, and had a small dinner.
After the train and dinner, we had exactly 299 Japanese yen left
(that’s about US$3). After congratulating each other on
our amazing budgeting prowess, we went off in search of something
that cost 299 yen.
Unlike the States, the Japanese don’t
subscribe to the (ridiculous) idea that something looks a lot
cheaper if you price it at 299 instead of 300. So we kept finding
things for 300. Actually, to be more specific, we kept finding
various ice cream options for 300, but this is probably because
that’s all we (or to be fair, *I*) was looking for.
So I thought… this shouldn’t be
a problem - I’ll just tell them that it’s our last
299 yen and could they please spot me the yen for the ice cream
cone that usually costs 300? I’m not too proud to relate
that we’ve done this sort of thing in a few airports around
the world when we’ve been short by a coin or two and it
usually works – in fact, I can’t think of a time when
it didn’t work. Until now. After three valiant attempts
with three different vendors, I admitted defeat. It’s not
that the Japanese are mean; on the contrary, they’re quite
friendly. But they *are* a very rule-adhering culture. I finally
realized that I was embarrassing them by asking for the extra
yen – it was bad of me to put them in that position.
Dejected (and feeling somewhat guilty), I bought
the smallest, saddest one-gulp-ice-cream-thing I’ve ever
seen for 240 yen (ok, it was about three bites I guess, but at
80 cents/bite, I wasn’t a happy camper). Susan then spent
the next 20 minutes unsuccessfully trying to get rid of the last
59 yen. I think she eventually bought a tic-tac.
What I would have given for one of those give-a-yen-take-a-yen