It turns out some acronyms are slightly misleading. I realised that this long weekend when I tried to withdraw money from an ATM.
Only having 100 yen ($1 AUD) left in my wallet, I stopped by my local bank to visit an ATM. To my surprise, the bank was locked and closed. From the looks of some of the other puzzled people hanging around the front of the bank, it wasn’t just me and my lack of language comprehension.
I tried the ATM in the nearby convenience store. It spat my card out. I think it also swore at me in Japanese.
It seems I had forgotten something. In a country renowned for high technology, the ATMs for my Japanese bank operate with the premise that there are tiny leprechauns inside dispensing the cash. If you use them after 8pm on any day you have to pay a penalty fee, for leprechaun overtime. If you use them on the weekends you have to pay another penalty fee, for leprechaun booze, no doubt. And as it turns out, when there’s a bank holiday, all the ATMs are offline. Damn those leprechauns and their fat-cat union bosses.
Aren’t these machines supposed to be automatic? You know, with computers and things that work 24 hours a day without complaining? Luckily I had a friend with me who kindly lent me some money. Without any other way to get money out of my account, I would have been stuck somewhere in Tokyo with a very, very long walk home. I might have to invest in a contingency leprechaun of my own for next time.