I was living in Japan in 1972. I was in a small farming village outside of Tokyo. I had a nice little apartment not far from our after school office. It was a delight to pick up fresh flowers every Friday for myself and my landlady. It was such a safe neighborhood that I never had to lock my door. Coming from New Brunswick, NJ, this was quite an improvement. My neighborhood in NJ near the college, was very unsafe, with robberies a constant.
One day, there was a commotion outside my door. It was early in the morning and I had no idea what was going on. I opened the door and just below the stairs, the landlady and the garbage man were having a lively discussion, and from what I could tell, about me. I didn't know Japanese, but it became clear what the upset was all about. I hadn't separated my garbage. Coming from the States, at that time, we didn't do recycling or separating our garbage.
So, I was shown how to separate my garbage, and had to apologize to the garbage man for having disturbed his routine. What a lesson! To this day, I can visualize the whole thing. I can't imagine this ever happening here in the States. We now have recycling and separation of types of garbage. We still don't have this kind of respect for people's job, or for people who may be considered of a lower status. The Japanese are unique in the world: the way they look at life and the solutions they find for life's situations.
Writing and art are my passions!