The Money Belt Incident

Nathan here:

There is so much to talk about, but I will start with something that happened during our second day of work here.

As travel expert Rick Steves explains, on a trip it is often safest to keep your money and similar things in a money belt.  This is a belt that goes under your clothing and has zippered pockets for important things.  It is closer to you and safe from pickpocketing and stolen bags.

Safe until you leave it in a bathroom, that is.

My stomach was not doing well the second evening on the way to the festival.  I easily get sick in the heat, and I wasn’t drinking enough fluids.  This made it necessary for me to stop at a restroom right after we got off the train.  It was a coed bathroom, and so there was a long line.  Us men are not used to waiting in these long lines with the women.  Once I finally got in, I was presented with a Japanese style toilet (AKA the Squatty Potty).  They really aren’t that bad to use, you just have to get used to it.  My money belt clip had come undone at some point, and so I set my money belt on the toilet paper dispenser to the side to keep it out of the way, as I obviously didn’t want to set it on the ground.

Many hours of work later, tired and thirsty, I went to purchase a drink from a vendor.  I didn’t have enough cash in my wallet in my pocket (where I keep a small amount of money for easy access), so I went for the money belt.

My heart stopped.  I was not wearing a money belt.

I furiously checked all my pockets (including ones I had never used).  I moved to the side and emptied the contents of my backpack.

No money belt.

I was now feeling less well than I had been earlier.

As I worried, others made a plan.  I would go with Moe (Mo-ay) to the train station to see if we could find it.  Barb reassured me that if there was anywhere in the world to lose money, it would be Japan.  I tried to be reassured by that, but it did not seem to help too much.  So after a little while of figuring out details and scheduling, Nick and I went with Moe and Barb back to the train station.  There was a long line at the bathroom, so checking there first did not seem practical.  Instead we made our way up to the information/security desk.  Since Moe speaks fluent Japanese and Barb speaks quite a bit, they started talking to the man at the desk as we stayed back.  A minute or so later they motioned for me to come up, and together we tried to describe the money belt.  The man just seemed confused.  Then he asked me for my name, so he could check.  To avoid further confusion I just handed him my drivers license.  He then headed into the back, still seeming confused, and the situation did not seem promising.

A minute or so later he returned with my license… and my money belt!

I had left a belt with hundreds of dollars worth of yen and a couple credit cards, and through the grace of God and the honesty of the people here, it had merely been taken to the information desk.  Nothing was damaged. Nothing was missing.

Praise God!

Needless to say I was breathing easier for the rest of the night.


2 Responses

  1. We’ve been praying for you guys while you’ve been over there and we’ve really enjoyed your updates! We anxiously wait to hear your stories when you get back. Thank you for your faithfulness in going! God Bless and have a safe trip back… you too Andy ;).

  2. Isn’t it great to find out that like God’s love for us, honesty is universal! The character of a person dictates how they act when they find a money belt. Too bad you could not speak to the person who turned your belt over to security. I also think that this is just God’s way of blessing his servant – that’s you Nathan. Praise God from whom all belssings flow . . .

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