The cold I was rocking in Otaru and Sapporo last weekend just will not die. Probably not helped by me not taking a sick day, and still being to busy after work to catch up on sleep. So, I'm very sad that I won't be going to the Southwestern Hokkaido welcome party at Lake Toya this weekend. A long weekend and everything. Well, I'm sure I can find something exciting to do around home. Sleep in, rack up the long distance bill, study some Japanese for that upcoming exam I'm regretting I signed up to take, sort recycling...
This week I experienced a joy that is unknown outside of the experiences of gaijin living in rural Japan. I came back from work on Wednesday to find that my garbage had been taken away. For those of you living in North America, you can't understand this joy. For you, garbage day is a run of the mill thing -- a standard chore that is boring and tedious, but at least you don't usually have to worry about the shame of having your garbage rejected.
Here, things are a bit different. And it's not even that difficult in my town. My town separates garbage into three major categories. Burnables (燃やせるゴミ, moyaseru gomi), non-burnables (燃やせないゴミ, moyasenai gomi), and recycling. There's a few other categories, like over-size garbage, dangerous garbage (light bulbs, car batteries and thermometers), and maybe some other random things. Like I said, I'm one of the lucky ones. I know of towns, where garbage must be sorted into 13 or 14 different categories. Hard plastic, aluminum, food garbage, etc. And don't try putting the wrong garbage in the bag -- it will be rejected, with a note detailing the problem and left until you re-sort it. I'm thankful every week that all of my garbage is burnable or non-burnable.
So, this week I put out a whole bag of non-burnables. And one box of broken glass, lovingly wrapped in paper and placed in a cardboard box marked 「刃物」 (hamono, sharps). And it all got taken away... absolute bliss.
Recycling -- now that's another matter. I can drop off glass bottles and containers anytime I want, but for everything else: paper, cardboard, cans, PET bottles (known as plastic bottles to the rest of you); I have to wait until the first Sunday of the month, between the hours of 7:30 and 9am to drop off my recycling.
So here I sit, on my ever growing pile of recycling, waiting for the weekend when I will actually be home to get rid of all of it.
But for the moment, I'd just like to bask in the glory of sucessfully getting rid of one bag of non-burnable garbage. It's a good feeling.