Fukuoka, Japan – Waste Disposal Rules (Gomi Guide)

Learn how to separate your trash in fukuoka japanLearn the Rules of Fukuoka’s Trash and Recycle Disposal

Trash in Japanese is called gomi, and each city and each town and each district has a different system for collecting garbage in Japan. Each district has its own gomi guide to refer to for the different procedures. For the purpose of this article, since I will be living in Fukuoka, I will be going over the rules and regulations from the Fukuoka gomi guide. All pictures are captured from the Fukuoka gomi guide as well. Here in America we simply recycle or throw away certain materials we no longer need or wish to use any longer. However, in Japan it is not that simple. In Japan, everyone must sort their garbage into burnable items, non burnable items, and recyclable items and put the collected garbage into color-coordinated bags which are specific to each district and are sold at local convenience stores.  According to Waste Atlas each person in Japan produces an average of 356.2kg of waste per year and as a whole, Japan generates 45,360,000 tons of municipal waste per year, ranking 8th in the world. They have special machinery to help burn items that normally are difficult to burn that is also cheaper, takes up less space, and produces fewer nitrogen oxides and less sulphur dioxide than typical incinerators. They also convert the fumes produced when burning into energy which fuels the machine itself as well as generates power for the local area.  According to the Fukuoka City Garbage Disposal System Pamphlet, four incinerators can supply power to 33,660 households in the surrounding area.

A helpful Gumi guide for fukuokaAlthough the colors are the same nationwide, the specific bags for each district are labeled with the name of the district on each bag. Red bags indicate burnable items, blue bags indicate non-burnable items, and white bags are for recyclable items. Each person must also put their name or code on each bag to indicate who to return the garbage to if it is improperly sorted. If someone wishes to get rid of an item that does not fit in the specified bags, they will then have to purchase a disposal ticket priced equivalent to the weight and size of the item and attach the ticket with their name to the item and leave the item at a designated pick up location. If the item is in good condition, the item may be sold for reuse. The Japanese have a phrase, “mottainai” which means “What a waste” or “waste not, want not” to try and help primarily reduce the amount of waste including food waste and secondly reuse items before recycling or wasting.

What about air conditioners, TVs, refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, clothes dryer, and computers? For these specific items, there will be a collection and moving fee plus a recycling fee, and people have to call and authorized collector to handle these specific items. People also have to call an authorized collector to dispose of bicycles and motorcycles, pianos, tires, car batteries, agricultural equipment, fire extinguishers, LPG cylinders, non-empty kerosene containers and print cars, gasoline and motor oil, and other agrochemicals like toner.

Garbage that's not allowed in facility

Burnable items include kitchen waste, non-recyclable plastic, rubber items, leather items, bamboo or wooden items, entirely empty disposable lighters, disposable diapers, pet excrement, empty kerosene tanks, clothes and futon mattresses, cold packs and paper trash and tin foil. There are certain conditions and requirements for certain items, but I don’t know how strictly these requirements are enforced and how strictly people abide by the requests. The collection agencies ask people to remove any excess water from their food waste to prevent odors as well as unnecessary weight and mess. They also ask that cooking oils be chemically coagulated or absorbed completely with paper towels. Non-recyclable items include plastic bottles for cooking oil, mayonnaise, detergent, and shampoo, plastic hangers, toys, videotapes, CD’s, DVD’s, egg trays, PET bottle caps and labels. Rubber items consist of Rubber boots, gloves, sandals, toys, hoses, and kitchen mats. Leather items consist of leather shoes, handbags, belts, bags, wallets, and other leather items. If a leather item (like a belt) has metal, the metal should be removed and disposed of in a non-burnable garbage bag. For bamboo and wooden items, they should not be bigger than 1 meter in length and 5cm in diameter and should fit in the bag without causing the bag to tear. In disposing of a wooden broomstick, the handle may stick out of the top of the bag as long as the rest of the broom is secure inside the bag. For disposal of tree branches, it is requested that large amounts are brought to a designated processing facility. Disposable lighters must be entirely empty which can be made certain by pressing on the lever. In disposing of disposable diapers, collection agencies request that excrement be removed before disposal. Pet waste is asked to be dried and secured tightly in a plastic bag.

how to throw away kitchen rubbish in fukuoka japan

Non-burnable items consist of aluminum and steel cans, entirely empty aerosol cans, metal pots and pans, metal items like hangers and wire, small appliances, glass, porcelain and ceramic, umbrellas, fluorescent tubes and dry batteries, disposable pocket warmers, kitchen knives, thermometers, and gardening soil. Steel and aluminum cans are sorted and recycled. To make sure an aerosol can is entirely empty you can remove the push cap so that there is just the small tube and press the small tube against the center spot of the top of the container lid. Small appliances that are accepted as long as they fit in the designated non-burnable bag are: vacuums, printers, toasters, rice cookers, and electric pots. Glass cups, plates, formula bottles, medicine bottles, window glass, vases, aquariums, ashtrays, ornaments, light bulbs, opaque white and broken bottles are disposed of as non-burnable items. Glass containers for soft drinks, liquor, seasoning, cosmetics, and food (like jam jars) are to be disposed of in the recyclable bag designated for PET bottles and glass containers. If someone is disposing of broken or sharp glass, it should be wrapped in cardboard and marked. Porcelain and ceramic bowls, plates, ornaments, and flowerpots are disposed of in non-burnable designated bags. The same requirements for disposing of a burnable wooden broomstick apply to umbrellas. The handle of an umbrella may protrude out the top of the designated non-burnable bag, but it is requested that umbrellas not be longer than 1 meter in length and 5cm in diameter. Fluorescent bulbs and dry batteries can be disposed of at collection stations such as ward offices and citizens’ centers or taken to 3R stations. Kitchen knives should be wrapped in thick paper and marked the same as broken glass. People are asked to recycle small household electronic items such as cell phones, cameras, game consoles, music players, chargers, remote controls, electric cords, and other electronic accessories and devices by dropping them off at collection boxes located in ward offices and supermarkets.

Japan recycles paper, metals, glass, and plastic. Most of the plastic in Japan that is commonly recycled are PET bottles which are recycled into new PET bottles and also clothes, bags, carpets, and doggy raincoats. In order to be recycled, PET bottles should have the label removed as well as the cap and should be rinsed out and smashed. Newspapers should be neatly stacked and bundled with twine. Flattened cardboard should also be neatly stacked and tied with twine. Small papers can be collected in paper bags. Paper coated with plastic, or water proof paper, or paper drawn on by crayons, or paper with paint on it, or scented paper, or carbon paper, or self-adhesive envelopes and post cards are not accepted as recyclable paper. Paper cartons should be flattened and rinsed and can be recycled. Food trays that are thin enough to be poked with a toothpick can be washed and dried and recycled.

Commercial garbage should be separated from residential garbage. If someone voluntarily cleans up leaves or trash in a public place, they can have the city collect the garbage if they contact the local ward office. Deceased pets can be disposed of as waste material for a 1,000 yen price tag, or they can just leave their dead animal on the street to be collected for free, or people can contact pet cemeteries and funeral homes for burials and cremations.

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Kancho in Japan: Etiquette, Meanings and… WTF?

Kancho, The Game/Prank For All Perverts of Japan!

So of course as things go with studying Japanese culture every day, I still get surprised and have to just go… WTF JAPAN? Because honestly being from the west this little game/joke/prank called kancho is for me a big WTF. So what is this naughty game called called kancho all about? Well simply put it’s when someone sneaks up on you and jams their fingers into your butthole.

Preverted Japanese PranksNo, I’m not kidding. The game kancho which is usually played by small children under the age six is something that literally involves your fingers and a butt. But just because it’s mostly played by children, doesn’t mean that they’re just doing it to each other… Oh no, in fact, if you’re a teacher, parents, older sibling you better protect your back parts from being probed, and to be fair, you could also find yourself getting a probe from someone at work, high school or college (some just don’t mentally grow up past the age of 6)! This weird oddity is not just Japan’s alone, the Korean’s and those in Philippians seem to enjoy a good game of jab the butthole. Butt, seriously now, this game is so revered in Japan, they had to make themselves a statue of the good ol’ time they’ve had jabbing strangers, friends, family and even teachers in the bung-hole.

The Etiquette of Kancho

One thing to note though is that yes these cultures are different, and for the most part kancho in Japan is tolerated especially those 6 and younger. So if you’re planning on being a Japanese English Teacher for wee ones, then you could expect a nice bit of backlash from your students at one point in time when they become a ragging pack of piranha. The Japanese give these kids HUGE room to be bastards, so the best way to handle them is to never mentally break in from of them, be able to take a joke and even be able to deal some back to them (minus the kancho, c’mon now, that’s a bit creepy). If you can do that, it’s said Japanese children will respect you for that and give you less of a hard time. But for those that are not equipped with a sense of humor may end up a broken mess on the floor during the first day of school.

But to further the rules, well, there really are no rules, except, avoid being a pervert at the wrong time, like:

Funerals, Weddings (proper timing), School Entrance Ceremonies, Trains (This is known as chikan if done wrong =P), On the Frail Elderly.. and you know I’m sure you just have to use your best judgement here, if it seems it might be frowned upon to sneak attack a persons butthole at a certain time, try to find another more suitable time to do so…

#themoreyouknow

NihonScope 

 

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Is It Really Illegal to be Fat in Japan?

Illegal Fat People in Japan?Is Being Fat in Japan Really Illegal?

(I’ve been informed that it’s not a law to get measured once a year – please scroll this forum to learn more – below is the original article)

So what exactly is this fat tax everyone is talking about from Japan? Is it real? Is it really illegal to be fat in Japan? Well, first off, yes it is real, there is a sort of ‘fat’ tax that is applied for those over a certain BMI/waistline in Japan (85 cm for men and 90 cm for women). But you’ll never see anyone actually arrested for being fat… Fined, absolutely, but not the individual themselves, companies are the ones who take the hit. Japan requires it’s citizens between 40 and 74 years of age to get their BMI/waistlines measured once a year, and if need be seek medical attention and counseling.

The law is actually called (get ready for it):

“Standard Concerning Implementation Special Health Examination
and …
Special Public Health Guidance”

Otherwise known as ‘Metabo’ law, started in 2008 to combat ‘metabolic syndrome” and to curb the country’s overweight population by at least 25% by 2015. So with that said, has it worked? It has actually, it’s dropped the obese rate of Japanese people by 1% since it started.  So Japan put out all the stops to help curb any excess fat that they can from society.

But already Japan has a few things going for them that Americans simply don’t. First Japanese people already eat a diet full of fish, vegetables and rice, whereas Americans literally are loading up on ultra-processed foods 50% of the time! Second is that Japanese people by default end up having to walk much more then Americans, and are encouraged to do so. Americans simply for the most part do not have the ability to leave their house and walk into a city as many Americans live on the out skirts of cities.

Thin Japanese Family Eating Together

Then third the Japanese now have the Metabo law to help reinforce and help curb what they consider an epidemic of fatness! Americans, have nothing of the sort, and honestly it would be unconstitutional to do so. Instead America would be best to keep teaching individuals how to eat and what to avoid, because half of their food being eaten is absolutely trash.

So what do the stats looks like for overweight people in Japan, and did they really need to implement this law? Well the answer shouldn’t surprise you, but here are some numbers and a few facts regarding overweight people Japan vs America.

Obese American Family In Front of TV

Only 3.6 percent of Japanese people have a body mass index (BMI) over 30 (which I now believe is 3.1 percent), which is the international standard for obesity, whereas 35.7 percent of Americans do. A total of 33.1 percent of Americans have a BMI over 25 (discounting those in the obese category), making them overweight, but only 21.1 percent of Japanese make the grade to be considered overweight (discounting those in the obese category)!


Lets look at this in the raw numbers to see how absolutely insane this really is:

Obese Japanese People: 4,500,000
Obese American People: 101,000,000!

Overweight Japanese People: 31,000,000
Overweight American People: 105,250,000

Total overweight and obese:

Total in Japan: 31,100,000
Total in America: 218,750,000

So I’d say Japan is doing something right when you compare it to America right? But let’s be fair and look at the numbers if they were to have the same amount of people, but let’s look at it if America had as many people as Japan.

Total in Japan: 31,100,000
Total in America (same pop. as Japan): 86,668,000

In this made up chart America would still have over 50,000,000 more people that are overweight. This would also mean that out of the 126,000,000 people only about 45,000,000 would be healthy which is about 1/3 of the population.


Japanese Population: 126,000,000
American Population: 318,000,000 – (Feb 9th 2017)


So as you know the law is not coming to take you to jail if you’re too fat in Japan, they’re not going to come slap handcuffs on you or force you into fat camp. Although you will be required to see a counselor and a dietician to help you curve that hefty waistline, that is if you even show up for your appointment.

So, is that it? You pretty much just get a slap on the wrist and a bit of mandatory counseling? Well, yes and no. The biggest effects from this law stem from companies who employee bigger people. The big punishments are really being felt by the companies of Japan. If they find ANY of their employees are big boned and over the limit they can be fined a fair sum of money until everyone has a come to Jesus meeting and gets a grip and slims down. Companies actually hand out ‘Metabo’ towels that have a measurement stitched into the towel so you can see if you’re gaining weight or if you’re losing it. Otherwise to basically help you remember that if you’re overweight your a burden on the companies well-being.

One fine a company was said to pay was upwards of $19,000,000 dollars! This is why you will see companies doing a set of work outs in the morning before they start work. 30 minutes of stretching they say help keep everyone a bit more fit, and they also found that it keeps their employees more focused on their tasks. But not everything is as it seems, this program that seems to have well intentions (which I agree to a point), doesn’t have everyone’s best interests. Because of this, people that are bigger are shunned and made fun of and verbally abused, and this attitude also leeches into the public and private lives as well, but besides the emotional and societal backlash, did Japan really need to enact this law?

Large American Couple Eating Poorly Chosen FoodsA professor at Tokai college School of Medicine, Yoichi Ogushi said that there really is no need for Japanese people to lose weight.  Yoichi Ogushi was noted saying that he does not think it will have any positive long lasting effect. He also said something like the Metabo law would work best in areas like the USA or Australia and other places that actually HAVE a weight problem. At this moment he said the Japanese people are too slender and they can’t afford to lose weight.

But on the other hand the president of the Health Policy Institute of Japan, James Kondo, believes that this law is a positive thing. He claims that the check up every years increases the public’s awareness of the health challenges that come with obesity and the metabolic syndrome.  Okay well if you agree with it or not it’s something that Japan is really doing. But there are a few criticisms and flaws of this policy that should be pointed out:

  1. The measurements done around the waist do not always give an accurate measurement of persons body fat.
  2. The law totally avoids childhood obesity, which is where most weight challenges occur in life.
  3. Companies discriminate against people who are a tiny bit overweight or not overweight at all, thinking they could become over weight
  4. Less than 50% of the people attend the required checkups
  5. Of those who do that are found to go and have a weight issue, only about 12% of the people who received counseling even took the advice or even acted on it.

So, there’s that…

But the more I researched this subject the more I ran into a lot of research showing that men, women but mostly girls are taking this to the next level and basically starving themselves. More and more eating disorders are taking place in Japan and Metabo law has certainly not helped curb this growing challenge that is taking place in Japan. There is even stories I’m reading about where children are indoctrinated into believing eating too much can turn you into a pig, and it’s seen as heroic to not eat!

Well, perhaps at one point in Japanese history when food was a scarce thing, these kind of stories came up, and then they just got pass on down from generation to generation. But these children stories are not doing anyone any good. So there could be much more research into how deep this really goes, because as already mentioned, why not tackle childhood obesity too? Well many believe and I tend to also bend towards the idea that big pharmaceutical companies have a play in this role in this Metabo law decision. Japan has the 2nd largest pharmaceutical market in the world.

With that said the profits between 2008 a year before Metabo and 2012 show a drastic increase.

To end this endless rabbit hole of questions and points of view about this Metabo law, there was a question I had about this. What about sumo wrestlers? Are they stuck with the same law as everyone else? And the answer is, YES! They are stuck with having to give up the gut as there time arrives when they turn 40. But it’s also interesting to note that the oldest wrestler to win a top division sumo championship was 37 years of age (Kyokutenho Masaru). So the vast majority of these wrestlers will never have to worry about it. But, I wonder though about those who have to work hard to get themselves below the thresholds of the Metabo law in time, when for most of their lives they’ve been commended for being a big fat wrestler.

-NihonScope

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/Pages/overweight-obesity-statistics.aspx
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/03/less-than-3-percent-of-americans-live-a-healthy-lifestyle/475065/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat_tax
http://www.snopes.com/politics/medical/metabolaw.asp
https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/why-eating-disorders-are-on-the-rise-in-japan

lol -エルオーエル- / bye bye

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