Friday, October 06, 2006

Simply rubbish!

During my aimless meander across southern China, and again while wandering the length of Vietnam, I realized how fabulouly socialist Japan is. It could be arguably the greatest socialist state in the history of the world. In over a dozen years here, I still have little idea whether the people I meet are rich or poor, educated or not. Of course it is the central governments's job to be that animal which is more equal than others.

The washroom at Kyoto's City Hall is an especially well-known breeding place for Bolsheviks. These Big Brethren decided that from October 1st, all Kyoto residents are required to dispose of their garbage in city-issued bags. I understand the reasoning behind this, yet don't appreciate having to pay 450 yen for a mere 10. Worse, most of the bags are simply huge, with much more volume than needed. This environmentally conscious single occupant doesn't create that much trash in a month, let alone twice a week. So on the very first day of the new system, I tried use the smallest bag, but was told by nosy neighbor #1 that that particular bag was for cans and bottles only. She suggested putting the whole works into a legal yellow bag, but this would generate even more trash. So, after about ten minutes, she let me off, after I promised to bring my illegitimate trash home if the city refused it.

Two hours later, nosy neighbor #2 is standing at my door, my poor unwanted white bag in hand. I started up with my spiel again, but after a couple minutes we both lost interest. My trash is now once again steadily decomposing in my kitchen.

Few things here seem to rankle old women as much as improper waste disposal. Seemingly every foreigner has a story.
In the country of my birth, there's a saying that good fences make good neighbors. In the country where I hang my hat, bad trash policies make for bad.

On the turntable: "Miles Davis, "Live in Stockholm"
On the nighttable: S.T. Wellman, "The Mirror Stone"

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