‘Only in Japan’ can you chope tables with your mobile phone? Singaporeans disagree

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“Let me show you something amazing in Japan,” says a man with a British accent in a video.

If you’re expecting some incredulous and mind-boggling act, well, prepare to be disappointed.

Because what’s ‘amazing’, according to TikTok user Matcha_samurai, is how patrons at a foodcourt in Japan leave their personal belongings at the table while they go and get their food.

“You can just leave your stuff to save a seat for yourself,” wrote Matcha_samurai in the clip which has been viewed close to 300,000 times since it was posted on Monday (Aug 22).

@matcha_samurai I wish I could do this anywhere in the world 😂 #matchasamurai #didyoubowtho #fyp ♬ original sound – Matcha Samurai

You say reserve, we say ‘chope’.

The 24-year-old Japanese content creator shows off empty tables at a foodcourt, littered with personal items, from hand towels to bags and even mobile phones.

“Look! You just leave your phone on a table, and no one’s going to take it,” he exclaims in amazement, adding in the caption to the video, “I wish I could do this anywhere in the world”.

“Only in Japan, only in Japan.”

But is it, though?

Netizens believed to be Singaporeans were all too quick to jump in and point out the fallacy of his observation.

“In Singapore we use tissue packs/keys/mobile phones,” wrote one netizen, to which Matcha_samurai replied, “Damnnn [sic] I should move to Singapore”.

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And not just using items such as tissues or mobile phones, but “even laptops”, said another.

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One could add that it’s basically anything, really, and that includes name cards, employee passes and umbrellas.

Some others claimed first dibs on the origins of ‘chope-ing’, with one user schooling the content creator and other commenters on the history of Singapore’s ‘chope’ culture, stating that it first started in the ’80s, and “we leave bags, tissues, and even phones on the tables”.

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But it’s not just in Singapore. From the comments, we learned that using one’s valuables to claim a seat is also prevalent in Korea as well as the Gulf nations. 

Netizens of other nationalities too, began chiming in on what’s the preferred method of ‘chope-ing’ seats and tables in their home country.

And it includes making use of grandmas and children.

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But then, there are places where such actions would be ill-advised.

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We think, however, that it might just be safer to err on the side of caution and keep your valuables hidden. After all, as we say in Singapore, low crime doesn’t mean no crime.

ALSO READ: Woman’s gripes about hawker chope-ing table backfires

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