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Dear Alice,

I am very curious about those small trays that are used in Japan when settling daily cash transactions. Instead of handing your payment to the clerk, or setting it on the counter by the cash register, here you are generally expected to put your payment into a tray that is presented expressly for the purpose. The clerk takes it away and returns it with your change. In restaurants, the check is often delivered on a rectangular tray made of leather, while in banks and post offices, the trays are usually plastic. So, what the heck are these trays called? And what is their origin and purpose?

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