05 May 2006

A very long weekend

In this corner of the world, National Day, Constitution Day and Childrens Day happen on successive days. Of course there was the Emperor's (not this one, the last one) Birthday too last week. So it's been one long stretch of holidays. And the weather being what it is was rather inclement.

So here we are. Three days of being stuck indoors. Why didn't we go out somewhere?? Because we, strangers that we are to the system, forgot to draw cash before the onset of the holidays. So off I went to the ATM to draw cash and head to the next town to watch a movie. I got to the ATM, and couldn't get in. I tried the door, it wouldn't slide open. I took out my ATM card and waved it under the sensors (what that could've done to help, I still don't know), stood back a step and then tried the door... basically tried all weird things to get it to open.

Finally, a lady who was walking by took pity on me and told me that it was a holiday and that the ATM was closed. I wasn't sure that I'd heard her right, and my Nihongo still doesn't extend to asking intelligent questions. So we decided to cycle to the bank itself and try the ATM there. On our way we passed 2 other ATMs and none of them would let us in. By this time we had a very bad feeling. We got to the bank, and there was this very nice notice in very formal Japanese. All we understood that the 3rd-5th were marked in red, and here too we couldn't enter the ATM. Which implies that when the bank doesn't work, neither does the ATM. And this being Japan, credit cards are next to useless.

Lessons learned in life: In Tsuruoka, not only do the ATMs close by 9pm, they are closed on all public holidays and have reduced working hours over the weekends.

Someone really has to explain the concept of an ATM to the banks here. Isn't ATM supposed to be about AnyTime Money??

I've marked the next long holiday, and plan to be ready before the ATM's shut down for their siesta!

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