Skip to main content

The Garbage Post

This is a garbage post.

No, literally: I'm going to be writing about garbage. Specifically, about the convoluted way Japan organizes its garbage disposal.

I'm sure there are more detailed accounts of this process out there. The Setagaya ward, where I live, has a ten page instruction manual for how to dispose of garbage! (If you're interested, you can read it HERE. ) Furthermore, methods for garbage disposal--and even what types of garbage bag are acceptable-- vary city by city if not neighborhood by neighborhood. And if you mess up in how you dispose of your garbage, at minimum the particular offending bag won't be collected: instead, a tag will be left on the bag saying something along the lines of "This is not the XYZ garbage collection day;" at worst no one's garbage will be collected and then everyone hates you.


This is the breakdown of garbage collection for my area. Fridays are recyclable garbage (except for PET bottles, i.e. plastic water bottles, those are disposed of in a separate category) such as cardboard, paper, books, and magazines. Wednesday and Saturday are "burnable garbage," which is anything from food scraps, bits of paper too small to recycle, plastic items, rubber, styrofoam, cloth, leather etcetc. I would say that about 80% of my garbage is "burnable," though I shudder to think of plastic like that actually being burned. The second and fourth Thursday of each month is for "non-burnable garbage" which is stuff like broken glass bottles, metal items, and mirrors. Then the first and third Thursdays are for PET bottles, which have to be washed, the caps discarded into the burnable garbage, crushed, and then put into a clear plastic garbage bag. Oh, and everything has to be disposed of in the proper bins by 8am or else you're stuck with it until the next collection time. And in the hot summer, with food waste lying around, and interior space precious to begin with those extra few days of accumulated, smelly garbage mean a LOT. Apparently it used to be even MORE convoluted: paper and plastic items also had to be separated but now, thank goodness, they can all go into one plastic bag.


There's the bin everything gets dumped in. Sometimes, instead of a proper bin, there's just an area of curb that the bags get put on and covered with a green net to protect them from tanuki ("racoon dogs," one of Japan's urban pests) and crows.


Additionally, cans and bottles have a separate yellow bin. Setagaya is actually quite easy in terms of its recyclables--in Kanazawa, one host mom I stayed with has to take her recyclable glass and plastic bottles to a disposal center that was at least a 10 minute drive away. I just get to put mine out on the curb, thank goodness.

I've always wondered why Japan, if it's so obsessed about garbage disposal, has so much packaging. Fruits and candies individually packaged, if not twice over. Saran wrap everywhere. Everything gets printed and distributed. It's all a bit ironic to me. I also wonder how they're going to handle it for the 2020 Olympics...I know that no visitor wants to stop and consider every piece of garbage they have before throwing them away in the already too-scarce garbage cans. (FYI for anyone in Japan if you have garbage and want to throw it away, a convenience store is your best bet--they have garbage cans for everything and they're all helpfully labeled.) It is sort of nice, though, to have such defined categories. At home I sometimes stare at an item and wonder if it's garbage-garbage or something I can recycle. Here, everything usually has a little mark on its label that says what sort of garbage it is, or what it should be considered as. For instance, a PET bottle's label says that the label should be considered burnable while the bottle itself is PET recyclable. If you know what to look for, most of the thinking is already done for you. It's just annoying to have to have two or three separate garbage bags/cans lying around at all times.

Tomorrow (Friday) is a recyclable day! Time to put out all the cardboard boxes my stuff came in (properly broken down, of course) on the curb and finally get them out of my room!

Tomorrow is also my orientation. Then I have a "New Hire Ceremony" on Saturday and THEN I have eighteen days of job training before I begin at my assigned store. I have homework: some online learning and a textbook to read (which, from what I've gathered, I actually CAN read without too much difficulty!). Wish me luck!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Taking a Breather

Sometimes when you're in Tokyo, as wonderful as its bustling atmosphere is, you just want to forget you're in the middle of Tokyo.


A few weeks ago I was chatting with a guy from Sweden who regularly came to Japan on business and he said that despite how much he loved Tokyo he could never live here because of the lack of green space. Tokyo has its parks, of course, like all major cities, but if you want unspoiled greenery you have to be willing to head at least forty minutes outside of the sprawling metropolis limits. In winter this desire to surround oneself with greenery might not matter as much, but now that spring is seeping into the atmosphere and the upcoming sakura season is on everyone's mind (NHK even puts out an annual "forecast" for sakura!) the neon lights and concrete jungle start to feel a little oppressive.

That's when little hideaways like the Sato Sakura Museum and Kohmeisen come in handy.



The Sato Sakura Museum is a small museum in Nakameguro…

Short Hair, Don't Care: Model Behavior

I like to think I have a wide range of accomplishments under my belt:

Accidentally over-caffeinated myself conducting ethnographic research--check
Read 3+ books in a single day--check
Never (yet) pulled an all-nighter--check
Sung at Carnegie Hall--check
Published a poem--check

But now I can add a decidedly interesting item to that list:
Been a hair model in Japan--CHECK.

It's a bit of a long story.

It all starts with coffee, actually, like many of my adventures here in Japan do. I was checking out a coffee shop in the too, too cool area of Daikanyama (no, seriously, that entire neighborhood is just Too Cool for me, I don't even know why I was there). There I met stylist Yusuke, who asked if I wanted to appear in a PR photoshoot for the opening of his salon brand's newest branch, boy Tokyo, Harajuku. They're (wisely!) making a site to appeal to foreign clientele--it's a smart move because it's really hard to find a place that has stylists who truly are comfortab…

100K Announcement

RICEANDRAMEN HITS 100K VIEWS!!!

Thanks to everyone who has read and followed my journeys in Japan from 2011 to 2017. Your support of my adventures and observations means the world to me.

In celebration of Riceandramen finally hitting 100k views, I am pleased to announce that I will be running a giveaway!

I will send one lucky person a custom box of goodies from Japan that could include (but isn't limited to): snacks, stationary, character goods, traditional Japanese crafts and more. The only limits are weight and size and your imagination (I'll be keeping everything small and light to keep the shipping costs down).

Without further ado, the details and rules of the giveaway are as follows:

Details:


The giveaway will run from today, February 25 2018 JST/ February 24 CST to March 11, 2018 JST/ March 10 CST.You don't have to be in Japan to enter: since almost all of my readers are international, this giveaway will be, too. The winner will be picked at random and notified via p…