May 09, 2006

Garbage As Homework

"My homework's garbage," Little Brother announced a couple of weeks ago. Taking out the garbage was part of his homework for two weeks. Each day he had to put a circle on a calendar chart. I had to sign it after it was filled in. Taking out the garbage is not such an easy job here. It requires more than just putting a bag outside. There is a schedule for each area in the city. In our neighborhood in Tokyo, all garbage is separated into burnable (kitchen scraps and garden debris), non-burnable (recyclable plastic), recyclable paper (junk mail, school papers, cereal boxes), newspaper, cloth, cans, plastic bottles, glass bottles, and junk that doesn't fit any of the categories (which includes messy stuff that cannot be cleaned up, broken dishes wrapped in newspaper, broken umbrellas, etc.) All cans, plastic and glass bottles, yogurt cups, etc., need to be washed and dried. Each type of garbage has its own color of bag. Milk cartons are washed and dried and taken to a bin outside a nearby grocery store. Batteries and light bulbs are thrown away separately. It can all pile up through the week. It is a big job.

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