There are 15 families in our neighborhood, and we rotate the twice-weekly task of unlocking the “gomi” station before 6am, then coming back, cleaning it out and locking it after the garbage men come at 8am. The rules couldn’t be simpler – put out your burnable rubbish between those hours in a designated city rubbish bag. There are different days and places for disposing of plastics, cans, glass, cardboard and any other rubbish listed in the “instructions” distributed to all the households.
This week is our turn on “gomi duty”, and today, there was one bag leftover. It really is potluck whether the garbage men take everything or not and unfortunately on this occasion, they didn’t. Normally if there is rubbish left behind (usually because the transparent bags give away any attempts to hide unburnables) I would take the bag up to the incinerator and let the professionals sort it out for me. Of course, since the country is on holiday for New Year, I donned some gloves and picked through the rubbish myself.
Air freshener containers, plastic bottles, cardboard, job-hunting magazines, used makeup stuff, balls of hair, potato peels, generally really gross leftovers from dinner… and half an envelope! BUSTED!!! 😛
Wait a minute! This woman, Hiromi, isn’t one of our group! In fact, not only has she broken all the rules of rubbish etiquette, but she’s put out her rubbish in the wrong gomi station!
Here’s the thing: Hiromi’s apartment block is right in front of our gomi station, but due to some geographical misfortune where the line dividing neighborhoods runs right between our gomi station and Hiromi’s apartment block, she would have to walk for 10 minutes, hauling her bag of rubbish to her designated gomi station.
Not that I have any sympathy for her. I went straight to her apartment and rang the doorbell, wondering what her reaction would be to a pissed-off foreigner returning her bag of rubbish. Fortunately for her, she wasn’t in, so I left the bag on her doorstep with the envelope fastened to it so she would know she was caught out. Don’t worry, I have photographic evidence in case she dumps the bag somewhere else – after all, because of New year, the next rubbish day isn’t for another week!If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!