26 May 2008

Talking trash

We're officially on our way out of Japan. The last few days have been completely chaotic. I've had to do the sorting of what to keep (everything), what to discard (ultra heavy winter wear, things I haven't used in over a year, size... er.. X-4... jeans), what's sentimental (Aditi's school craftwork), what's not (greeting cards and other senti stuff)... and also answer questions like "why are my toys in that big bag over there instead of in my toy cupboard? Don't my toys have a visa to go to India?"

The sorting is still the easy part I say. It's discarding that's painful. First thing I did was to donate clothes that are in good shape to charity. Whlie we're at that, let me tel you, finding a charity here is next to impossible. I asked around if anyone was collecting stuff for earthquake or cyclone relief for China or Burma. Answer was 'Cash only, please." The Red Cross asked who would pay to ship the stuff to these places. But thankfully, one friend here asked if I could give stuff to an orphanage. I was more than happy to.

Then we got to discarding. And it's a PAIN in the wrong end. Please do read this article to understand how trash disposal works in Japan.

So there we were, wondering where what went. Does a stone vase count as 'un-recyclable trash', or does it qualify under 'other miscellaneous household goods'? What about that plastic container? Is that PET, recyclable or non-recyclable plactic? Do gumboots qualify under burnable trash or plastic? Why are there so many categories for disposal of footwear? Why didn't I run away and join a real circus instead of being in this one?

So we bagged all our stuff into different categories and got rid of it over a week (each day, we're supposed to take out only a particular kind of trash). Last night, we took out ALL the trashbags and put them in the designated receptacle.

The movers got here this morning. And as they were nearly done, someone rang the bell. He had a bill in his hand, and asked if it was ours. It certainly was, and hadn't we just discarded that with the trash last night? He turned out be someone from the waste removal company who wanted to know why we'd thrown out that much trash? Why had we thrown out the wrong trash for Monday? Hadn't we received the trash calendar from City Hall?

We explained that we were moving... "look, these nice men are taking away all our things," we said. He very reluctantly agreed to let our trash stay in the dustbin. I still can't believe someone rooted through the rubbish to figure out who all that ... er... trash.. belonged to.

Ah well, trash, disposal and recycling is going to be a whole new story once we get to India.


Anonymous said...

Best of luck with your trip! Have a safe journey, and I'll speak to you when you land up in Bangalore ... hopefully you'll be able to settle in quickly (my cousins were on a 6-month waiting list for broadband!)

Taz Snow said...

LOL! I totally sympathize with the circus and the menagerie and all that!

Moving, and related trash disposal is MUCH, MUCH more simplified in India....oh wait...what's trash disposal? Oh, you mean leave stuff lying around for your landlord or next tenant to clear up? Yup, thar she blows! :o)

When are you guys getting here?

Vidya said...

@Axe: Thanks, dude.... lets hope I can get broadband earlier than that... unfortunately, I happen to know something about harakiri and seppuku :( lets hope I dont get to that!

@Taz: that also
is the brassband ready?? :D

--xh-- said...

oh man, it almost give me a headache gng through the article.. but it sounds very effective...
leaving this r always tough.. whn i moved out of my hostel, i had a major dilemma, and at last end up hauling most of the things home... my mom nearly had a fit whn she saw my luggage :-D

Tys on Ice said...

okie now....where the hell are you?

bee said...

good luck with the move, vidya.

"Lady Namu" said...

why did u stop blogging?