A very little effort pays off in Sapporo

On a recent trip to Hokkaido, Japan I had what I described at the time as ‘Mark-six’ luck, or rather a ‘Mark-six’ mini moment, at least it was for me. This is what happened and believe me, it is all true and unexaggerated; the mini event can be verified by the lady in the photograph for those who might think I’m pushing the truth a little.

On the first morning in Sapporo while packing my things before checking out of my hotel I discovered that a small photograph which I have carried in my wallet for many years was not there – at least not where it was the night before. I always kept it in a small window section in the middle of the wallet which I realised wasn’t totally secure to hold a small passport sized photo. There was a reasonable chance of it slipping out should the wallet be opened and held at a particular angle. Needless to say, I was annoyed but calm. My first reaction was a negative one to be honest, thinking that it was a bad omen, some sort of sign, losing this particular photograph that I had carried for so many years in the same fashion. Naturally, I searched almost everything, looking in logical places like under beds, duvets, behind curtains, in my pockets, and around the hotel room floor. And I also looked in places where there was no chance at all of finding it – a wardrobe, a fridge, in a slim mirror-cabinet, pointless but makes you feel better because it feels like a better option than bawling your head off. I was disappointed and annoyed and knew deep down that it fell out of my wallet on the evening before, an evening where we covered quite a bit of ground in the city of Sapporo and an evening where I removed my wallet on several occasions to pay for things. “Okay, think logically and strategically”, I said to myself and I knew for sure that I wasn’t giving up without trying – it’s just not the right attitude.

So while checking out I asked the receptionist to write, in Japanese, “I lost a photograph. Have you seen it?”

The first two stops on my search for my lost photo were right across the road from the hotel and shops I visited just the night before, around 10pm. The first one on my list was a Lawson convenience store (a chain of stores competing with 7-i Holdings, Japan’s 7-eleven), and a Yen100 shop (the equivalent to a HK $10 shop but selling better quality stuff). While paying for my cold coffee in Lawson I asked the girl if she had seen my photo, well actually I mumbled something in English while showing her the note written by the hotel receptionist. A very positive left to right head gesture was enough body language to tell me they hadn’t seen my much loved photo. Outside I opened my coffee and took a sip while waiting for the traffic lights to change. Next stop the Yen100 shop just 2 crossings away. Anna went inside first while I finished my coffee. She waited in the checkout line to enquire. Moments later I entered the store, joining Anna in the quest. With people in line at the checkout I looked around hoping to see my photo on the ground behind the checkout or in the general vicinity of the area where I opened my wallet the night before. I was also granted an obscure glance at a little bin through people standing in line. Then it’s our turn, and with nothing to pay for, Anna presented the little note to the girl to ask if anyone had seen a photo. The girl was a bit confused as expected but just at that moment I was standing directly over the little bin and having a good vantage point and wishing like hell to see my little photo – it appeared, neatly placed and facing up on top of other papers and receipts discarded by other customers. All in an instant I bent down while saying “Here it is” with a wide expression of delight on my face; then rising up to eye level I could see the girl behind the checkout – me with photo in hand and her even more confused than before. A really happy mini ‘Mark-six’ moment for me, I think!

By the way, in case you’re wondering what is so special about this particular photograph and why I bothered to look for it – it’s a picture of my wife and just one of two pictures that I carry wherever I go. I don’t even wear a wedding ring, a well known fact. From the moment I found the little picture I put it safely in a new place, tucked in safely alongside my HKID! What are the chances of finding that 25 x 30mm photo in a small bin in a Y100 shop? You tell me… 






My precious photo

My precious photo










No related posts.

Comments (4)

4 Responses to “A very little effort pays off in Sapporo”

  1. Anna says:

    Thanks for finding the picture, and finding me! I told you, it’s not that easy to lose me!

  2. Winnie says:

    So sweet ……

  3. [...] A very little effort pays off in Sapporo [...]

  4. William says:

    You are so sweet.