Thursday, January 28, 2010

Garbage Duty

Garbage duty. *sigh*

We have this thing called gomi toban--garbage duty. It only comes around once or twice a year and lasts a single week, so you'd think there's nothing to get excited about. It's pretty simple too.

What happens is on Sunday the previous garbage duty person brings this over to your house-- a chunk of wood on a rope. It says gomi toban.


The person in charge of garbage duty waits until trash has been collected, takes a broom and dustpan, visits the Trash Cage and cleans it. Let me back up. Trash Cage.

Because roads are narrow we don't put our garbage out in front of our houses. Instead we have a designated area for everyone on one or two blocks to use. Here's a picture of the road in front of my place. On the left underneath the red stop sign you can see our garbage area/Trash Cage.



Here's a close up. The netting keeps crows away. In theory. Those birds are smart. I like to listen to them report to each other where the people are and when's the best chance to slip inside the net.





I still remember my first garbage duty. I went to check the cage and it was perfectly clean. Cool. Later that week I checked on our second trash day, perfectly clean. The last trash day of the week I didn't even bother to step inside. I could see that it was fine.

And then the doorbell rung. If you go back up and look at the street shot, you'll see a house across from the cage. Therein lives Snotty Old Lady.

I've actually caught her going through people's garbage bags. I imagine to make sure they are throwing things away properly. But I don't know. I bought myself a shredder.


So what was my offense? Because I didn't actually go inside the cage I missed about 1/8th of
a banana peel wedged in the corner.

Bad, bad, nasty, slimy banana peel.



Yep. She reported me to the neighborhood leader and I had to do another week's duty for my transgression. But I learned. Oh, how I learned. And now I'm proud to say that I'm the best darned garbage duty person there is.

Well, except for Mrs. Snotty Old Lady neighbor. Nothing gets by her.

14 comments:

Girl Japan: April Marie said...

You are much more mature than me.. I would have refused to be apart of it at all..... What if you were working FT.. how would you have time...

Maybe I don't understand the whole concept... No one approached us yet about any Garbage duty since we moved in.... Maybe each city/neighborhood is different?

Hilary said...

Aren't you the in the least teens weensy bit tempted to to watch when she cleans it out and quickly toss a few banana peels and egg shells in there as soon as her back is turned? Or train the clever crows to do it.

Kappa no He said...

Girl Japan, I think it's because our town is so old fashioned. We have all sorts of insane rules and rituals that no sane person would ever do. I use to throw fits (like the time they woke me up and made me drive a bunch of old women to a shrine so we could all clean it and I kicked in a glass door with my barefoot--now, there's a blogable story), but in the end I pick my battles carefully.

Last duty (last week) I had to work on Tuesday and didn't get in until after six (after dark--we have NO streetlights) but I was out there with a flashlight. Only took a sec. Luckily it was spic and span.

Hilary, if you could just see the grin that stretched across my face. I'd have to be super sneaky because her or her husband are outside ALL the time. It's like they take turns. Crow training may be in order.

Girl Japan: April Marie said...

So True... you kicked in glass... haha love to hear that one... I sometimes HOLD things in here and then ... blow off my steam...

I've been learning as I get older to pick my battles wisely... asking myself what kind of a benefit can I get, can't get, will it make me happy, unhappy, life easier or hard....

Hey.. I can't wait to hear that story = ) I shall never tell how a put a dent in my old fridge...

Kappa no He said...

April-Marie, I just got back from the store. I bought all the ingredients for your scrumptious-looking fudge brownies. Yum!

Mary Witzl said...

What you (and Hilary) wrote had me howling. And blushing too: I'd have been SO tempted to do that banana peel thing. I've fallen foul of a couple of Nasty Old Lady types myself.

I don't know what I did right in Abiko, because the garbage duty ladies loved me. They got after my husband once for mixing up his tin and aluminum, but they had me right up on a pedestal -- bows and big smiles every morning. I was SO NERVOUS the entire time we were there; I just knew they'd find me out.

I've got a whole novel written about a couple who meet over garbage detail, in Tokyo. But I have a feeling I've written that before...

Kappa no He said...

Mary, that steel and alumi thing is tough. It used to be the tuna cans were aluminum, the tops steel. Then they changed it up and made them all alumi. Did you guys have the giant magnet?

Don't you love it when you do right though. I think I said it before too, but I love the idea of having a couple meet over garbage duty. I do hope you're sending that out.

Kappa no He said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pat said...

See, in my neighborhood, I'm probably known as the Nasty Old Lady! It just gets my goat when the street is junked up with those big trash cans on wheels that have been left out for days after the trash man came and went. Kathie and I have snuck out to take a couple of them on a trip down the street to new homes in the dark. Giggling the whole way, of course!!

But seriously, an eighth of a banana peel? Even I'm not THAT bad - I hope. Next time, glue it to her window with moldy jelly.

Benjamin Solah said...

Wow, that is really weird and I've never seen it before.

So the bins go in the cage to be collected and emptied? Or do you just all dumb your rubbish in there.

Kappa no He said...

Pat, I think that's why I can't get mad at the whole idea. While my neighbors are neat freaks sometimes unfriendlies from other areas will see a trash station and dump all sorts of crap in there. So it's good to have the system. I can just see you two giggling in the dark and pushing a giant garbage can on wheels. Cute!

Ben, only see-thru or semi see-thru garbage bags go in the cage. Which is the why the crows are so happy. One little peck and ... FEAST!

Frank Baron said...

A charming, slice-o-life vignette.

You should seriously consider writing stuff for publication.

:)

Kappa no He said...

*raseberry*

(Hey, going to e-mail you. Got some news.)

Anonymous said...

Really. Quit whining and just do it(not you, Kappa!). It's a good idea, and someone has to keep it clean. I had no problem doing it. I didn't have an anal old woman watching me, but there were plenty of regular houswives there to give me advice. It's just a job, not my life, but there's no reason to be a slacker about it either.