Saturday, November 02, 2013

Account Information

(from A Forest Ten Feet Wide, Tokyo, 2013)
Here in Tokyo, My husband and I went to the bank to sort a few things out. The bank teller explained that I had been out of the country so long that my account had fallen asleep. Unfortunately, there was no way to wake it up. It was entirely impossible because a) I’d lost my card (just a few years back) and b) I’d lost my bankbook (forever ago, before I ever understood what bank books are for and why they are so important to Japanese people) and c) I had no valid work visa. There was money in the account. Not a lot of money. A lot of money for me. “There is no way to do anything?” I asked the bank teller. Meanwhile, my husband was already getting mad. “So now we just lose everything?” “It is difficult”, said the bank teller. He asked us to return to the seating area and he would see what he could do. Twenty minutes later he called us back to the counter, presented me with my new bankbook (Winnie the Pooh!), told me I’d get my card in the mail, and in the meantime, would I like some cash? “Special case”, he said. The degree to which Tokyo is rule-bound can hardly be over-stated. At the same time, things like this do happen far more often than is generally admitted. After all, there are so very many rules. If you’re going to break one of them, you might as well break them all. Addendum: My husband reads over my shoulder and is flabbergasted. He insists that I have missed the entire point, omitted the primary point of interest, skipped the heart, soul, and flesh of the matter. Please excuse me. I will try again. The bank teller was absurdly impossibly gorgeous. Not handsome, not striking, I am talking about breathtakingly global celebrity gorgeous.*  While we waited, we watched advertisements for the bank’s services on the video in the waiting area. Not one of the famous people shown was anywhere near as good-looking as our actual bank teller. Fortunately we had been required to fill out the forms in advance. Otherwise we would not have been able to remember why we were visiting the bank.
Imagine an angelic yet masculine clean-cut boy-band star who has unfathomably decided to devote himself to courteous banking. You must know this moment: when you think, oh so obviously photo-shopped and then realize oh no, wait, this is actual life. He could have sent us away with nothing. We would not have made a fuss. We would have come back cheerfully, every three days, for the remainder of our lives, to see if he’d changed his mind. He also spoke excellent English. Almost perfect. Of course my husband spotted an error. “We do not say the account is sleeping”, my husband said. “We say it is dormant.” My husband went on to explain that he just happened to be a tutor, teaching English privately, professionally, casually, for a very reasonable rate, at his home, and here was his business card, which he presented at once with smile and a flourish. That dog.


* Please contact me privately for branch information.

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