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The Thing I Learned Today MAR-APR 2022

The Wizard of Oz is alive and well and living in Japan

Behold the Japanese train ticket vending machine, which is about as close to infallible as a machine can get. You stick in your money, and—unlike the ticket machine I once encountered in San Francisco, which rained down $14.00 IN CHANGE like some sort of demented Vegas slot machine—even if you put in a ¥10,000 note (the equivalent of a hundred dollar bill), the machine spits out nice neat yen notes and perfect change along with your ticket.

Japanese train station ticket machines

But surely no machine can be THAT perfect! What happens when The Great And Mighty Oz DOES make a mistake?

Well, hidden behind a notice so ordinary it’s the perfect disguise is…

Schedule posted on small door by Japanese train station ticket machines

…the Great and Mighty Oz!

Station employee seen through the small door between Japanese train station ticket machines

Yes, there’s a guy whose job it is to stand behind the bank of ticket machines, making sure the cash is topped up in the change-making part, emptying the avalanche of money that comes in during the day, and being on call in case something goes wrong. And if it does? He fixes it.

No one is ever disappointed to open a gift and find a book inside!

For three hundred years, a missing tea bowl passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, changing the lives of all who possess it…read more

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon

“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist

Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

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