Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Spare Change

For the past two years I have hoarded coins like they were going out of style and today I cashed in.

If there is anything more useless than pennies and nickels, it is one and five yen coins. I am also not a fan of the ten yen coins either, so whenever I get any of them they are all go into a jar. Over the months, one small jar became eight small jars and then eight small jars became one huge two liter jar and eight small ones. I hadn't cashed in before now because I have always been told Japanese banks don't like to accept large amounts of change and that I may have to cash in only several hundred coins at a time. The other day, I learned that this was simply not true so this morning, since I had to go to the bank anyways, I decided today would be the day.

The look on the bank teller's face when she saw the red duffel bag I was carrying was priceless. I told her that I needed to deposit some coins and she got me this cute little orange tray to put them in. Then I told her that I had a lot of coins and she asked how many. I unzipped the duffel bag and her jaw dropped. Evidently, Japanese people don't amass change on the scale that Westerners do. I rule.

The teller then told me to start dumping money into the tray and that she would get a couple more of them. I started pouring out the copper and aluminum bits and she soon realized that three trays were not going to be enough. I then pulled out the big two liter jar and that took up two trays by itself. Then an assistant started coming over to collect the stack of filled trays and she needed three or four trips to get them all. I was cracking up because I just kept pouring out money and it got to the point where some of the bank employees were giving me the, "you're a nut" look. This is what they get when they call me, wake me up, and tell me that I have to come in and fill something out at 10:40am.

After several minutes of the coin counter whirling away, the teller told me they had my grand total. I had a whopping $305.00 in change! Yay!!! d(^_^)b

The reason I had to go to the bank in the first place is kind of amusing. I had to make a bank transfer the other day to cover the cost of my plane tickets home. While at the bank, my ATM card broke. So with two months left on the island, I have to get a new ATM card. While I was filling out the paper work for the new card, I forgot to fill in what I wanted the pin number to be and so I got a call this morning telling me I needed to come in by the end of the day to fill in the blank. That was a fun phone call because the bank lady woke me up. First, I don't speak Japanese well over the phone. Second, I don't speak Japanese well when I a still half asleep and groggy. Third, this lady talked really fast or my brain was going really slow, probably the latter. Anywho, I figured out that she needed my pin and I told her the number I wanted and then she said something that sounded like a chipmunk talking and I assumed it couldn't be the same number as my old card so I told her a new set of four digits. More chipmunk talk and then my brain started to come online and I figured out that she needed me to come in and personally fill out the paperwork. Now it is going to be a week or so before I have my new card. Not having an ATM card sucks.

But hey, I now have $300 more than I had before.


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