Thursday, May 26, 2011

I Just Want To Throw This Out

**For those of you who care, I do not have the grand total on the benefit concert just yet but I shall report that when I get it.**

Greetings from Tokyo. I am now at my parents house with my daughter and husband. It's been about a year and a half since our last trip--it's good to be home. I always enjoy coming home with my husband because I get a foreign perspective on my home country. I also feel like a tourist in my own country because there are always some systems that have changed since the last time I was here. I speak the language but I appear clueless--this confuses people when I ask them a seemingly dumb-ass question. But then they see that I have a white dude and a half white kid and they get it.

Anyway, today's entry is about the garbage system in Japan. It's super complicated. I always stand in my parents' kitchen with a piece of garbage in my hand, staring at multiple receptacles. The garbage must divided in to the following categories in Japan: burnable, non-burnable, recyclable, and food waste. What bends your brain is the difference between non-burnable and recyclable. It seems like they should be one and the same, but they are not. And even if you figure out the difference there, there are three different categories of recycling and you have to divide them. Another thing that gets me is "non-burnalbe." It seems to me like anything can be burned down if you do it long enough. So I just stand there, paralyzed because if you divide it wrong and put it out, they just leave it there. That's right. You have to bring back your garbage inside and try it again next time. I don't wish for my senior citizen parents to have to pick through garbage for my mistakes so I just ask them "which kind is this garbage?" every time I throw anything out. Like I'm a 5 year old.

On the flip side, when my parents visit, they ask me how to throw things out. They are constantly amazed that our recycling is pretty broad, therefore, easy. They always say, "these two things both go in there? Are you sure?" because they've been conditioned. It doesn't help that they are both in their 80s and their memory is spotty so they often repeat their questions.

I always feel that I figure this out just as we are leaving and the time in between my visit washes away any knowledge I acquired because my brain has apparently now reached maximum memory. It's hard to be me.

But on we go with our visit. I'm certain there will be few entries while I am here. I hope you stay tuned.


  1. I want photos of the garbage receptacles. I really do.

  2. ...and p.s. thank you for this.


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