On my last visit to Japan, I had formidable experience. Let me narrate whole story started from Ahmedabad, India. I explored all possible leading money changers, but could not get converted Rupees into Yen. I tried at last on Ahmedabad International Air Port before I board on plane, went in vein, the officials assured I will get from Mumbai Air Port. Due to security reason for transit pass holder, I was not permitted to go out, and within my confined proximity, I could not get Yen during my twelve hour stay at Mumbai and got the same reply that currency will be easily converted at Narita Air Port, Tokyo.
I landed at 9 A.M. in the morning on that pleasant Saturday, and as my flight was unbelievably late, no body was to receive me. After getting my visa cleared on the gate, I started asking all money exchangers if they can convert Indian Rupees into Japanese Yen! I was stunned when I came to know that the currency of the country having one sixth of population of the world and in front race to be super power with my host country, was not accepted!!
It was starting of my stressful time to come. I had to reach the other hand of Tokyo, at Tokyo University and I have neither host’s currency nor any foreign currency except Indian Rupee. I did not know their language they did not know mine and English was hardly at rescue, because average Japanese, even Air Port staffers know little English. The body language was the common language, which we exchanged to communicate. I was really feeling embarrassed and lonely in the oceans of yellow blooded people on Narita. I can’t call my host, as I did not carry fistful of Japanese coin to use public phone.
A security guard came to my rescue and enquired if Indian Embassy or Air India or any Indian bank can help me. He used his coins and telephoned everywhere he thought fit. On receiving some emergency call, he was compelled to leave me but he offered me few coins to use telephone service. He also gave me his free phone code word used for official purposes. I was reluctant to receive that free coins from security guard. He left me expressing deep apology.
Suddenly I remembered, I had some Swiss Franks left in my bag during my Europe visit. I converted that 20 SF into Yen, and was hardly sufficient to surf internet for half an hour. I mailed to Tokyo University and requested their help. I waited to get reply till I had the last Yen, but could not get any reply mail. I left the net depressed. After most stressful hour, it was announced my name on the Narita and a receptionist girl came to me asking if I am Indian wanted to go Tokyo University. She escorted me to the counter where I got message that some one will come to receive me from university.
I was still wondered how he will trace and find me on such big air port. After another four hours of waiting, air port staff was in search of me traced and introduced the receiving host as Dr. Hiroshi. He took me to my destination and out of all embarrassment I experience in stressful hours on Narita.
This story is policy indication for Japan and India, both claiming to be super power at UNO, good friends, giants of today and tomorrow in global trade needs to provide basics of trade and cultural conducive environment in this globalisation where currency exchange is pre-requisite and routine.
Dr. Vrajlal Sapovadia
MBA Faculty, Gujarat University PG Center, NICM,
Gandhinagar 382009, India