Did you know that the Japanese mint released 300,000 new ¥100 coins into circulation to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Shinkansen Bullet Trains the other day? No? Well, it doesn't seem like most people knew about it, either.
My wife's mom just came over and gave a set of the coins to my son. That's how I found out about it
Here's what the Japanese mint says about these coins from their webpage: (http://www.mint.go.jp/buy-eng/international-eng/eng_shinkansen_coin_program_index.html)
"A bullet train Shinkansen, which was developed for the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, has been widely known for half a century, domestically as an important infrastructure supporting the lives of the Japanese people, and internationally as one of the symbols for Japan’s high technology. On October 1st, 2014, the Shinkansen marked the 50th anniversary of its opening. We release a series of commemorative coins featuring Shinkansen to commemorate of this anniversary between 2014 and 2016. It will include one 1,000 Yen silver proof coin and nine 100 Yen clad coins."
Since the mint only released 300,000 of these, I guess that's why not too many people had heard about it; the mint might have intentionally tried not to advertise too much because people go crazy over stuff like this.
I know I would have. I collected coins and stamps (and baseball cards, comic books, etc.) when I was a kid.
As it was, according to my wife and mother-in-law, people were lining up at banks and post offices around the nation on the day of release to try to get a set. I'll bet you half a donut that the people who did line up - and were lucky enough to be able to get a set - did the "Apple Store" thing; they must have lined up from the night before. And, since each bank and post office only received a few sets, the sets were all gone within the first one minute on release date.
There's no way I would ever do that for computer stuff... For commemorate coins for my kid? Or for my own collection? OK. I suppose so.
It seems that there were lots of disappointed people who tried to get a set but couldn't.
These sets were virtually impossible to get if you were in Tokyo, but I hear they were a bit easier to obtain if you lived out in the country... Like my in-laws do. My wife's family has been living in that area as farmers for well over a hundred years, so all she had to do was call up the bank and tell them to hold a set for her. They did.
In the west they say, "The customer is always right." In Japan they say, "The customer is god."
It's especially true if you've been doing your banking with the same bank as your family has been doing for 100 years. That's how she got the coins. If she calls, there's no way they are going to tell her, "No!"