Jul 17, 2018

Trust in Japan

I was reminded of the concept of trust in Japan when thinking back to my recent trip to Shimane. Being the somewhat clumsy individual that I can be, I had my DSLR in my backpack and dropped it on the ground. I didn't think anything of it until I took my camera out at one of my next sightseeing spots and saw that my camera lens was sitting on an angle and I couldn't pop it back in -- that's what I get for lazily putting it back into my backpack without retracting it properly!

I went to the visitor's center in Izumo to ask someone in English if there were any camera stores nearby - I wanted to have it looked at to see if it was repairable. One of the awesome ladies at the visitor's center literally accompanied me to a photography studio a few doors down to ask there, since there wasn't a dedicated camera-specific store in the immediate vicinity (seriously, if you're in Izumo the visitors center is fabulous and they're so helpful).

Trust in Japan photo

A photo in Izumo before I dropped my camera. Big oops.

Let me cut to the chase though about the trust side of things in Japan. The gentleman working at the photography studio told me my lens was completely ruined. The part that really surprised me though was that he offered me, an obvious "non local", a lens of his own to take around the town with me for the rest of the day until I could get to a bigger camera store to replace my broken one. I politely said it was okay, since I had to head back to Matsue anyway and would just use my phone camera in the interim. It still surprised me that a random stranger would offer their own personal property to a tourist with the trust that they'd bring it back undamaged (or at all!)

Have you had any experiences in Japan where someone's trust in you outweighed what you'd expect from people back home?



After spending the last several years in the beating heart of Tokyo, I will be spending the next three in the countryside of Japan. I adore this country and all it has to offer - and I'm always learning more and more about life here as I go along!