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Trash collection is a big deal here. Every day we need to take some form of garbage to the collection point. Fortunately it's only a two minute walk from our house. Depending on the day we may be taking cans (crushed), plastic, paper, cardboard (flattened, bundled and tied), plastic bottles (with the lids in a separate bag and the label removed) to be collected. And if necessary dead animals (must call for special pick up). Early in our arrival Bobbie visited City Hall to get the low down on trash.



Today I got the 2 hour Crash Trash Course.

This morning I set out on foot for City Hall.  It was a sunny, cool morning, and the mile or so walk went quickly.   I had Japanese language class at 10:00; and, afterward, I had an appointment with a very nice lady to learn about trash.  Trash is huge in Japan.  Little did I know how huge.  “We have to take care of the planet.” Yuko-san told me, bowing politely.  I assured her that I understood the importance of recycling, and I bowed politely in return.

She began by giving me a trash pickup calendar roughly the size of a rock star Japanese.  The top half, describing the many different kinds of trash, exceptions to trash, and kinds of not trash, was color coded (pink, blue, orange, green, yellow) to the bottom half, which gave pick up dates for each type of trash (or not trash) for each month.  Suddenly I got it.  I was doomed to failure, and I hadn’t even begun.  The many ways of saying, I’m sorry, flew through my head.  I had better practice.

Two hours later, with visions of burnable, non burnable, recyclables, non recyclables, exceptions to all of those, AND a list of not allowed items, spinning dizzy circles in my head, I left City Hall.   I was close to tears thinking about having to remember the three (or, is it four?) different groups into which I must sort plastic.  I know the precise dimensions into which twigs must be bundled, cartons must be flattened, newspapers must be tied, and boxes must be smashed.  I cringe at the thought of having to dispose of a flashlight battery.  Can we eat out for 18 months? - Bobbie

The trash calendar is on our refrigerator ready for instant reference.