The big lump of heavy metal was squatting there on the edge of the pavement. On an early morning in Azabu a fortnight ago, I hesitated and then gingerly picked up what turned out to be an abandoned collection of huge keys complete with a smart leather tag.
As luck would have it, at exactly the same moment, a policeman sauntered past. Attempting to sound as casual as possible, I explained what had happened and asked if he would accept the keys from me. That quickly proved impossible. Since he belonged to the diplomatic protection squad, he could under no circumstances be distracted from his more important tasks and I was left with the loot.
Cops with the responsibility of safeguarding the South Korean cultural center from the risk of firebombing by nutters on the other half of the peninsula understandably have little time to bother about the seeming trivia of mere lost keys. He did, though, suggest that I leg it over to the nearest police box and report my findings to the guys there.
This I did and after signing forms and giving my name, address, phone number and showing the man in charge a name card, I patted myself on the back and said I had done my good deed for the day.
Since two massive items were clearly marked with the logo of the XYZ multimedia empire -- all names have been changed to protect the person involved -- and they were accompanied by the same individual's Toyota car key, this seemed to me part of his corporation's crown jewels. The keys would have opened the front door and perhaps the vaults as well; this wasn't a case of handing in the dinky 250 yen thing that opens the petty cash box.
My mind then went back to a month earlier when I had been in London. After completing some research in the British Library, I had put my backpack on the ground by the bus stop at King's Cross. Within a split second, I felt something brush my leg and the bag was gone. I lost my papers, diary, glasses, tickets, money and whatnot -- in fact everything but my credit card that fortunately was secure in my shirt pocket.
For weeks afterwards, I would telephone and visit each and every police station in central London on the off-chance that someone might have kindly found the bag and handed it in. Of course, I never thought the odds were much better than a hundred to one and nothing ever turned up.
Since the XYZ group continues to thrive throughout Japan, it seems reasonable to assume that the senior executive was able to collect his corporate keys from the police box and then drive his retrieved car home. It would have been nice, though, to have received a phone call from his secretary, since the great man would probably have been much too busy to deign to actually speak to me in person.
Even better, of course, would have been half a dozen CDs from the group's bulging music shelves or a couple of bottles of Aussie plonk to show a token of appreciation. No such luck. If you lose something precious in London or alternatively find something valuable in Tokyo and bother to hand it in, the result is probably going to be the same. Don't expect anything. Metro-man in the world's busiest cities has no time for sentiment.© Japan Today