Cash machines/ATMs

Japan: How’s things?

Me: Not bad. I need some money though.

Japan: Money?

Me: Yeah. Actually, i always need money.

Japan: Really? Are you short of cash? Are you some sort of poor hobo man?

Me: No, no, i work two jobs. I’ve got money. I just can’t access it very easily.

Japan: Why not?

Me: Because of your cash machines.

Japan: Wait. You can’t get to your money because of my cash machines?

Me: Right.

Japan: But they give you your money.

Me: Yeah but only when the bank is open.

Japan: Well, of course. Why would the ATM be working when the bank is closed?

Me: Because that’s exactly why ATMs were invented in the first place.

Japan: …?

Me: So people could access their money whenever they wanted to. You know, 24 hour banking?

Japan: But you can’t bank 24 hours a day.

Me: Why not?

Japan: The banks aren’t open all the time.

Me: No…But…You’re ATMs are only open when the bank’s open hence the constant need for money. Or the carrying around of tens of thousands of yen. And i can’t pay for anything with my bank card.

Japan: Pay for stuff with your bank card? How?

Me: Chip and pin.

Japan: Who are they?

Me: No, i mean you can just use your bank card and your PIN number to pay for stuff. Or you can use your signature.

Japan: What? Where can you do this?

Me: Almost everywhere but you.

Japan: So it’s like a credit card?

Me: Yes. Well, no. It’s –

Japan: Because you can’t use those that often. I don’t always accept those universally accepted cards.

Me: I know.

Japan: And it might be difficult for you to get a credit card too.

Me: Uh-huh.

Japan: Because you’re a foreigner here.

Me: Yeah.

Japan: And banks pretty much everywhere in the world aren’t keen on foreigners.

Me: OK, right, so what do banks like?

Japan: Well, mine quite enjoy making people queue up at cash machines in their lunch breaks or making people pay extra to use one 24 hours a day in a convenience store because the bank ATMs have the same opening hours as my hospitals, rendering them and their queues more like modern art installations; a constant reminder of our fetishism of all things cash related and currency driven and our near constant superficial desire to get our hands on what we generally can’t ever have.

Me: …

Japan: …

Me: But only between the hours of 9am and 6pm Monday to Friday?

Japan: Right.

Me: Hmm…so…erm…can I borrow 5000 yen?

Japan: Yeah, sure no prob…Oh, hang on. What time is it? What bank are you with? Is there a convenience store near here?


February 7, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Uncategorized.


  1. Colleen replied:

    My biggest irritation here is cash. At least 7Elevens are everywhere.

  2. atm solutions replied:

    Didn’t realize cash so hard to come by! How incredibly irritating!

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