i did the recycling today! i usually don't get it done if yoshi isn't around, but because the kids went to bed early last night, i got a head start on it. i tied up the cardboard, paper, sorted the pet bottles, paper packs (milk & juice cartons) and styrofoam, and then left the rest of it for the morning (plastic and then cans & glass). phew! but i took it in today, good on me!

if you live in japan, especially in the countryside, you may know how much of a PITA recycling here can be. i'm pretty sure my parents can throw all their recyclables into a carton that's picked up on garbage day--not sorted. they are also charged for this, even if they don't put anything out for pick-up. here in japan, it can be so complicated! certain days for certain things. when i lived in yasu, where i lived garbage day was monday and thursdays, and recycle day...well, it depended on the item. cans were the second and fourth sundays of the month. glass, maybe the same day. styrofoam, once a month. that was the same for large items, shoes, things of that nature. this lovely plan came with a calendar, color coded for recycling and garbage days. if you missed the recycle day, too damn bad, keep that garbage in your house! and, you couldn't leave it at the regular garbage pick-up spot, oh no, you had to take it to the neighborhood pick up area where 'volunteers' checked to make sure you had everything sorted properly. in my neighborhood in yasu it wasn't too bad, i have heard of some real nightmare 'trash nazis' here in japan (i kinda don't like to use the word 'nazi' like that, it's someone else's description, though, and it fits.) also, the recycling had special plastic bags, which you had to purchase--that was the recycling fee--and you had to write your name on it so they knew to whom to return the mistake. phew, typing that out made me tired!

in masuda it was similar, except we didn't have to buy special bags, and there weren't any neighbor's checking to make sure we got it right. still, it's a PITA to have a ton of garbage floating around your house, even if you try to keep it to a minimum, so i am really liking munakata's recycling program.

now, we have to take our stuff to the recycling center ourselves, and sort it, and there are plenty of ojii-sans (grandpas), some of whom are very strict and aren't shy about telling you off in front of everyone, but it's open every weekend (except maybe during the new year and golden week), from 9 am to 5 pm. then, about two years ago, they started a third day, on wednesdays, from 1 to 7 pm. a year later they extended wednesday's hours and now we can take things from 9 am to 7 pm (that is a really good thing, in my opinion!) i just love being able to take things every week! better than my previous methods which were hiding stuff in garbage and then throwing it away at the convenience store (bad illahee, the environment hates you!) haha!