In Part 1 I talked about how the gomi (rubbish) rules had changed and that everything had to be separated and put out on fixed days between 6 and 8am. However, being unable to wake up at that crazy time of day, I often threw things out the night before. This was fine until the gomi patrol caught me.
The gomi station where I had to throw out my rubbish was manned by a bunch of old ladies between those unearthly hours in the morning. Of course, every week they would arrive to find my gomi waiting for them from the night before.
One morning, having only gotten home at about 4am, I was asleep when I heard voices in my kitchen!
As I said in Part 1, I didn’t bother locking my door because it was such a safe country and I didn’t expect anyone to trouble a 6ft foreigner.Â Â However, woken by voices in my kitchen, I jumped out of my futon to confront the intruders.
Two old ladies were standing there holding two bags of gomi that I had thrown out just hours earlier. I was half asleep at the time so I can’t remember if I had used the wrong bags, mixed up my gomi, or put the wrong rubbish out on the wrong day, but they had searched through the rubbish to find my address on an envelope and had come to slap my wrists!
I apologised and they left in peace, but I learned from that experience to always lock my door. I also tried to be more careful to do things right.
A year later I was living in a different apartment. By now, gomi bags were color-coded to match their content, labelled with the name of the city, and you had to write your name on the bags (not that anyone did though). Things were getting extreme.
My kitchen was once again lined with bags for the different kinds of gomi, and since I didn’t wake up in time to throw them out, my balcony was filling up with rubbish. One bag in particular was starting to haunt me. It was filled with difficult-to-classify things and was growing mold. After a while it was too filthy to even try and sort out so I covered it in another bag and left it on the balcony.
Eventually, it was time to move to my fifth apartment so I made every effort to chuck out the bags. All except the gross one which I justÂ threw in the truck to take to my new place. Meanwhile, I decided to throw out all my old clothes, and this time I reverted back toÂ a night-time clear out.
The next morning on my way to work, I was so embarrassed to seeÂ my old clothes strewn all over the street! I think theÂ old homeless people from the park across the streetÂ had been through my bags looking for something nice to wear. Anyway, I acted as if they weren’t my clothes and continued on my way to work.
So I moved toÂ another city, towing the gross rubbish bag with me, and once I got there, it found its new home on the balcony where it sat for another two years. WhenÂ it came to moving again, I just stuck it in another bag andÂ brought it to my current apartment, in yet another different city.
Needless to say my wife, Mami, wasn’t to keen onÂ having this rubbish bag on the balcony so she threw a tantrum and got me to take it to the city’s incinerator. By now, I had covered it in yet anotherÂ bag and put it in a box.
When I got to the incinerator, they asked me if my rubbish was from this city and I assured them it was. They even opened the box and saw the city’s name on the bag. However, when theÂ gomi guy opened theÂ bag to check its contents, he found a differentÂ bag with a different city’s name. I assured him that I had just had that bag lying around but the gomi was definitely from this city.Â So he opened that bag and found another bag with a different name on it. Now, I was embarrassed. He gave me an evil look but opted not to push the matter. Opening that final bag revealed five year’s worth of mold and dead bugs. Without even attempting to identify the rubbish, he tossed it into the incinerator and I shed a tear as the gomi I had lived with all that time disappeared in smoke.
Fortunately, I have a collection of old computers, monitors, hard drives and graphics cards filling up my closet, so a new chapter in myÂ ‘rubbish story’ is beginning!If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!