Monday, July 30, 2007

Charity, Japan Style

One or more people are anonymously handing out money in Japan, seemingly at random. Mailboxes have been stuffed with cash, and bank notes have been spotted falling from the roofs of businesses. How odd!

Residents of a Tokyo apartment building are baffled after a total of 1.81 million yen (15,210 dollars) was found in 18 mailboxes by Saturday, a police spokesman said.

"The money was in identical plain envelopes, which were unsealed and carried no names or messages," the spokesman told AFP.

But residents became "spooked" rather than pleased with the anonymous gifts -- and were too upright to pocket the money secretly.

"Some people initially suspected they were fake bills. When they realised the bills were real, they reported them to us," the spokesman said.


On Wednesday, bills worth 960,000 yen were inexplicably seen "falling" in front of a convenience store.

"We can just say the money came from the skies," a puzzled police official said. "There were other passers-by outside and customers in the store but the incident caused no confusion," he said.

"People thought it was too eerie to touch."


The largest single dropoff so far was in the ancient city of Kyoto on July 23, astonishing a 67-year-old woman who found an envelope containing 10 million yen of stacked bills in her mailbox.

But mystery money does not always reach police intact.

A woman walking on a bridge over Tokyo's Sumida River told officers that she saw bills falling at her feet from an elevated expressway above on July 6.

She believes 30 to 40 notes fell but police managed to collect only six notes worth 46,000 yen by the time they arrived.

"Some people were picking the money up on the bridge," the Tokyo Shimbun quoted the woman as saying.

No one can say if more people have collected money and not told police.

Media tallies suggest more than four million yen, including some found last year, has been found in the public restrooms.

Dutifully, police are holding most of the money in case the rightful owner eventually decides to reveal their identity


Pop-quiz time: Should this little gifting spree be counted as a collectivist/socialist act, or a free-market/voluntaryist act?

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