I’m not really sure when trash day is, or I should say “which trash day” that is. It almost seems like every day is trash day here. Things have to be separated by burnables and plastics so they have their own days. Then there are recycle days where they take paper, cardboard boxes, old newspapers, magazines etc… Then there are recycle days for glass items. Then there are recycle days for junk you have in your house like a broken coffee maker, old printer, broken down bicycles etc… It almost feels like you’re constantly taking the trash out.
The rules for recycling are really confusing too. So confusing that I don’t even understand it enough to explain it to you correctly. Plastics are the ones that mess with my head. You see, plastic items here will have a symbol on them saying they are plastic. Easy enough, right? Wrong. You’re in Japan, Dorothy. Common sense went out the window with the Samurai. We had to attend a community meeting when all these recycling rules went into effect and by the time the meeting was over I was ready to throw myself off a bridge. You see, plastic isn’t always plastic. Yeah, try to wrap your head around that one. An example you say? Sure. Empty potato chip bags? They have the plastic mark on them, from this point forward lovingly called “The Mark of the Beast”, yet they aren’t plastic. They go into the burnables……unless they have a silver lining inside. (????????????????????) So now, when I eat potato chips, I have to turn the bag inside out to see what color the lining is? But it has the mark of the beast on it…..doesn’t matter. Old VHS video tapes? Plastic. The plastic case they came in? Not plastic. Old, cracked CD cases? Not plastic. (??????????????) Any normal person would stand up and say “A CD case isn’t plastic?” but in Japan………I don’t even know what to say.
Did you know that an empty cigarette pack is 3 different pieces of trash? Yeah, the box itself is paper, the plastic wrapping around it is plastic…..I think, and the tin foil inside the package is metal. You are actually expected to tear apart your empty pack of smokes to separate the parts. I don’t think I need to tell you how often I do that. The empty pack goes straight into the trash from me.
We have designated trash areas too. It’s not like in America where the truck rolls down the street and stops in front of every house. Nope, we have a trash collection area that we have to take our trash to. It’s a fair walk from my house too. Thank God it doesn’t snow here or I’d have trash piled up in the backyard. The most messed up part about the trash collection area is that there are rules to it. You’re not allowed to take your trash out before like 5:00am. What that means is that if trash day is Wednesday, you’re not allowed to roll in at 2:00 in the morning on a Tuesday night and think “Hey, I’ll go ahead and run the trash down there now so I don’t have to get up so frickin’ early.” Nope, they don’t play dat. You know how I know that? I was working late hours at a school and going to shoot pool afterwards. I’d usually get in pretty late so I thought it best to run the trash out then so I wouldn’t have to get up so early. A few weeks into this pattern and I got a call from the real estate company that was in charge of my apartment……yeah, you don’t talk to the landlord, but that’s a whole different blog entry there. Anyway, the real estate people call me and tell me to stop taking my garbage out the night before. How did they know it was me? I came to 2 conclusions on that one. 1. Someone was a spy, sitting up all night watching the trash area to make sure no one dropped their trash off in the middle of the night or 2. Someone actually opened my trash and rooted through it and found my name on something. Either way, the slimy loser acted like a 4 year old and tattled on me to the real estate company. My first question to them though was this “How do you know what time I took it out? What if I have been getting up and leaving my house early morning before whoever the trash area Grand Poobah is arrives? Are we not allowed to drop off trash until this certain person shows up? I mean obviously the freak who called me in is in charge.” They wouldn’t give me a straight answer other than saying I couldn’t drop it off before 5. Of course my next comment pertained to if I was to show up at 4:58.
This place has it’s quirks. You just to learn to live and work with them as best you can. I still take my trash out whenever I feel like it though.
Y’all come back, I’ll leave the light on for ya,