Jason (pointing to sign on the wall hanging above a box of rope and scissors): What does this sign say?
Jennifer: It more or less says, "Please freely use the rope. After you are done, please return it."
Jason: It doesn't say anything about please return the missing tools?
Jennifer: (puzzled look, followed by uncontrollable laughter)A conversation from several months ago:
Jennifer: Where did these tools come from? (pointing to tools inside TV stand)
Jason: Oh, someone left them in the reycling room and I thought they would come in handy.
As Jason says, "You can't fix gaijin"
To be fair, trash disposal in Japan is very complicated and most of the items left in our recycling room appear to be free for the taking.
Trash is generally incinerated in Japan, so burnable items are separated non-burnable items, recycling is commonplace and larger items/electronic items may be assessed a disposal fee. When we moved in, we were given at least 6 copies of bilingual instructions on how to separate and dispose of everything from paper and plastic waste to CD cases, clothing, furniture, and so on. Despite all of these instructions, we're still unsure of what to do with aluminum foil. We've decided it's burnable.
Here are some photos demonstrating the triage process for trash disposal in our building.
Plastic bags, plastic wrapping in blue bins
Normal, small burnable waste in metal chutes
Separate cans from glass bottles
Plastic bottles into blue bins, pile for cardboard boxes
Electronics go in far corner, and random household items along wall
Disposal of household trash is tedious, but a simple trip to McDonald's or Starbucks will leave you befuddled.
Drain liquids and ice in metal bowl
Dispose of plastic bits
Dispose of paper and food waste
How can consuming a cup of coffee and maybe a donut require so many different bins?