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The Hilarious Mystery Surrounding Items Forgotten on Japanese Trains

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Personal belongings are sometimes left on Japanese trains for mysterious reasons. Photo by Nevin Thompson.

For the countless riders of Japan’s numerous commuter railway lines, accidentally forgetting an item is an everyday occurrence.

But a new trend that has gone viral on Japan’s social media features images of items that are more interesting than the average, run-of-the-mill lost article.

There's a tomato on the train?!

User 三頭赤sun (Santo Aka Sun) on curation site Matome Naver compiled a list of head-scratching items that Twitter users have found inside of train cars. The objects that appear can be unexpectedly hilarious and at times quite perplexing. 

The thread has over 820,000 views and has been favorited over 300 times.  

About the forgotten items, Santo Aka Sun said:

何が起こるかわからない電車内。忘れ物もその例外ではありません。

Unexpected things will happen inside of trains. Forgotten items are no exception.

Some items featured in Santo Aka Sun's Matome Naver thread are truly deserving of the title “mysterious”.  

Users pondered how such ideas ended up forgotten on a train:

Part of an umbrella was left on the train… I wonder how that could have happened.

Other items have users wondering the whys and hows:

Now that you mention it, the other day somebody must have… forgotten this inside the train…? But it's not like something you could just forget! What’s up with that? (´△`)

It's pretty normal for women to apply makeup on the train, and personal belongings will get left on the train as a result:

Looks like a false eyelash fell down on on the train. Somebody lost this…

電車の中の忘れ物。これはお化粧用?

A photo posted by Akira Takagi (@akiratakagi) on

Isn't this for doing make-up?

Sometimes the items left on trains can be quite noticeable:

Somebody left an actual bonsai plant on the train, hahaha… It looks so strange that no one wants to sit anywhere near it.

We're in Shinagawa and it's the end of the line. The train conductor seemed genuinely freaked out, saying “Whaaaa?”

Somebody has created a genuine mystery by leaving this [brass tea kettle] on the train. Who, and why?

Twitter users posted about finding prized possessions and turning them in to be reconnected with their owners:

This morning, I found these two items forgotten on the train. Because I’m a good kid, I turned them into the station attendant.

Finally, other users offered advice on what to do should one leave an item behind:

電車から降りてすぐに落し物・忘れ物に気がついたら、乗った電車の時刻・号車、そしてできれば電車の最後部にある電車番号(3〜4桁の数字とアルファベットで表示される)を控えましょう

When you forget an item on the train: If you realize that you’ve forgotten an item, (re)board the train immediately. Once inside the train car, if you can, make note of the train number (3-4 numbers and letters) located at the very end of the car.

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