Japan is clean. I’d heard and read about how clean the countries streets are, but I don’t think I expected the streets to be as clean as they are. Seriously. Japan’s streets are dead clean. I’m from London. So I’m used to seeing rubbish on the sidewalks, people littering, bins overflowing and dog shit smeared into the road. In Japan, I saw none of these things. People actually carry bottles of water with them when they walk their dogs, so that if they piss on something they can pour water over it to rinse it off. Only in Japan.
Sure, there were some area’s that looked a little run down. But even these area’s were pretty garbage free. And any garbage that was spotted was placed in neatly tied garbage bags of the appropriate colour corresponding to what type of garbage the bag contains.
Part of the reason why Japan’s streets are so clean is because people tend not to eat on the streets. In the West we’ll pound the pavement whilst snacking on a sandwich, a chocolate bar, some french fries, fast food. Pretty much anything we can eat without the need for a plate, a knife and a fork: we’ll eat on the go. In Japan? No deal. Because of this general social rule, there is a distinct lack of dustbins. So if you were unlucky enough to decide not to eat your Burger King in the joint, then a daily excursion can quickly turn into a scavenger hunt for a dustbin. And chances are if you find one, it’s only for a particular kind of rubbish which means you’ll still be left with whatever you couldn’t chuck. (Garbage separating = an integral part of Japanese life). As time goes on you slowly acclimatize to the country and turn a little Japanese, you begin to learn the Nihongo way: you either eat your food where the hell you bought it, or you want till your ass gets home.
Japan has many wonders and marvels to catch your attention. But the one you’re constantly hit with is how generally clean the streets are. It really is hard to hate the lack of dustbins and general rule of not eating on the streets, when the streets are so clean as a result. It definitely hit me hard when I landed in the fly tipping site that is London.
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