You may have heard that Tokyo is virtually crime-free, and that’s really not an exaggeration. Your chances of being a victim of a mugging, burglary, or some other illegal affront to your safety or possessions while in Japan’s capital are extremely low.
However, “virtually crime-free” means that, yes, even in Tokyo, crimes do happen. One of the more common is bicycle theft, and not long ago Tokyoite and Japanese Twitter user @bercy23555 had his bike stolen.
Thankfully, though, his bicycle later returned as suddenly as it had disappeared. What’s more, the thief not only left a note apologizing, but also a present to try to make up for the inconvenience he had caused.
Sitting in the basket of the returned bike was a large watermelon, and taped to the frame was the following note:
"I ended up borrowing your bike without your permission, and I’m sorry. As an apology, I am leaving one watermelon in your basket. Please eat it. It will taste best if you chill it before eating. I will probably borrow your bike again when I go to my part-time watermelon job (LOL). I will leave a note again at that time. I apologize.
P.S. Don’t forget to lock up your bike. Someone will steal it…"
While watermelons are popular gifts when visiting the home of a friend or acquaintance in the summer in Japan, it’s pretty unusual to receive one from someone who took your bicycle for an extended joyride. “I’m surprised at how unbelievably safe Tokyo is,” tweeted @bercy23555. Online reactions to his tale have included:
“All’s well that ends well. You got your bike back, and even something extra.”
“What a fine, upstanding crime.”
“So the next time he borrows it, I wonder if he’ll leave some cauliflower on your seat or something.”
“There are some really kind people in the world.”
But while just about everyone was surprised by the gift, not everyone was impressed by the attitude of the person who’d taken @bercy23555’s bike, especially since in his note he glibly talks about doing it again to get to his vague watermelon-related job.
“He wasn’t being kind when he stole the bike.”
“So he stole your bike but brought it back with a watermelon. Hmm…not sure if that makes your neighborhood safe or not.”
“I bet the watermelon is poisoned.”
That last fear turned out to be unwarranted, as @bercy23555 is feeling fine after eating the apology present. Still, given the bicycle thief’s criminal record, one commenter had a pretty plausible theory.
If the fruit was indeed pilfered fruit, the evidence is now long gone. Still, we recommend procuring your watermelons in one of the old fashioned ways, either buying them at the market or growing your own, since even in Japan, most thieves aren’t known for their generosity.
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