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June 12, 2006



Omigod, that totally drives me nuts too! I'm constantly telling the clerks "Fukuro iranai!"


Yeah, it makes me mad too. One phrase every gaijin should learn is "Sonomama de", but you've gotta say it just before they reach for that plastic bag. Because if they have already put your stuff in the plastic bag, then you say you don't want it, well too bad, that bag is going straight into the rubbish bin (trash can) because it's 2nd hand now. So you should have just shut up and taken it with you.

Good to hear some shops are charging extra for plastic bags. They do that in Germany, and actually it's kind of a pain in the ass. I'm too much of a tight ass to pay extra for a bag, so I would end up turning my t-shirt into a pouch and carrying all my grocceries back home like that.

The should just ask you, "would you like a bag?". Actually, come to think of it, if you buy one small item in Japan, they may ask you "Is tape OK?", then they put some colourful tape with the shop's name printed on it onto the item you just bought.

But I wonder, what is more harmful to the environment, which contains more poisonous chemicals, the plastic bag or the tape!?

And don't get me started on the kasa kondoms (little plastic bags for your wet umbrella) for when you enter any restaurant or shop during rainy season.

OK, almost finished my rant. You got me started...

Are you talking about the same Inokashira Park that I live near? If you walk through there looking at the ground you can count at least 200 cigarette butts, a bunch of cigarette packs, cans, PET bottles, some of those plastic bags we talked about earlier, and even the odd mattress dumped into Inokashira Pond. I kid you not... http://www.flickr.com/photos/bantuskasapa/165430229/

Everyone should just wear a backpack at all times.


I agree it's a big waste with all those plastic bags. They just turn into garbage in a matter of minutes. I feel the same about fast-food disposable cups and containers.
BTW I remember seing recently in a crafts book a fabric bag made in exactly the same design as a common plastic bag, even with two small flaps in the middle that can be snapped together. I would love to give that a try.


London is horrible at recycling. We have ONE small cooler-sized recycle bin for 12 apartments units of people(!)

Shoppers here also bad their own groceries at the shops so it's a 'plastic-bag-free-fer-all' as well. (Must you really double-bag to carry your groceries 3 feet to your car/front door?)

I always think that if they just charged $1.00/pound/yen/etc. PER bag that is used, this would help to fix the problem. When you think about paying an extra $5 for yer bags, I doubt many people would want to.

Ack well, dare to dream.


Interesting bit about the park without rubbish bins. Sort of a pack in/pack out notion. I wonder if that sort of thing would work in The States? I fear not.


the pack in/pack out method definitely wouldn't work in the states. i've seen people litter incessantly on the trains (i once even saw a girl clean her ears with cotton swabs and then throw them on the floor) and in the streets and it really comes down to sheer lack of manners here. the japanese are a totally different breed altogether when it comes to littering. that's not to say that they aren't wasteful though as kat's entry points out.

i just wish we all could care a little bit about the people around us and the environment! a little would go a long way.


I thought about that contradiction a lot when I lived there too, though I was in "cho beri inaka" and there were minimal instructions for trash sorting. Even just buying a package of crackers, with each one individually wrapped, seemed so wasteful to me!

Not that long ago, I was working with a Japanese man who I hadn't told I had lived in his country. He said "We Japanese invented recycling." I wonder if that's really true?


I totally agree with the annoyance of all those plastic bags. It's so much easier to bring your own. Glad to hear that some stores are trying to change!

But as much as I stress and complain about the complicated trash rules, it is nice that everything can be recycled appropriately here. I feel extremely guilty when I go home to the states and the plastic is all mixed in with the nama gomi...


Here in Germany, you also have to pay for plastic bags in supermarkets. They introduced that about 20 years ago, and well, it works. I'm so used to keep a cotton bag in my handbag, in case I go shopping later in the day. I was so surprised that in Australian supermarkets (I lived in Melbourne for a year), they give you loads of plastic bags and they even pack them for you (not so in Germany). You do get bags at bakeries here though, but they are paper bags (in case you buy lots of things at the bakery, they will give you a large paper or plastic bag for free).


Oh god, I always rant about bakaries and all their bloody plastic bags. It is all too much. At least paper can be recycled easier...but here they like to put EACH individual thing in a little plastic bag and tape it shut...I never go in if i don't have time to wait at least 5-10 minutes.

I live in Musashino too and the garbage here is complicated compared to other places in Japan! I was living at Seikei Uni dorm in Kichijoji when the system changed about 2 years ago. We actually had to attend seminars at the international centre so that the new garbage system could be explained to us...Not once, but i think three times ( At first i guess we were not very good at it!!!) But now that i am back it is almost like second nature. Although i have the English and Japanese on the wall....but my boyfriend (Japanese) tends to put everything in the green burnable bag which drives me insane!!!


God the bag thing drives me BONKERS here. Absolutely bonkers. And where I live, maybe it's the same near you, plastic bags are catagorized as burnables and are not recycled like plastic bottles. This makes zero sense to me.

And you are lucky about the park. In my area you will often see litter on the roadway leading to my work from kids chucking their vending machine drink because there are no trash cans. When I told a coworker how my city in the States has trash cans everywhere and as a result there is very little litter she commented that she doesn't understand why the prefecture doesn't do something similar.

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