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Well, it was bound to happen.

After 2-1/2 years into living here in Tokyo, my trash was rejected for the very first time.

If you have kept up with our adventures here in Japan, you remember that the first few months were just filled with brand new and strange information for us regarding what and when to throw things away. I had to constantly refer to the large chart, along with cute drawings, of what days were plastic trash, what days were burnable paper trash, and what days were the non burnable, and when to take out cardboard, clear glass, dark glass, magazines/ads, etc. I had pretty much gotten used to the routine. I guess I let my guard down.

My first mistake was purchasing CLEAR trash bags. Recommendation for future missionaries coming to Japan. Do not, I repeat, do not use clear bags where the trash collectors can just take one look and know what you have put in there. You see, up until now, I had always used the grocery store bags, which are kinda white or brown. I'd been able to sneak in the trash that was questionable.

This morning, when I went out to the trash bins to put out my heart skipped a beat. What?? Could it be?? Yes. There it was. My plastic trash from yesterday, sitting on the curb as if it had been placed in time-out. All by its lonesome. And, get this...there was the TAG. The dreaded red tag that told me that it was WRONG! Forbidden! Bad! Foreigner! (Just kidding, it didn't say that.) But the message was clear: I had put something in the plastic trash bag that was NOT plastic.

I took a look around me, making sure that no one was watching. And then I grabbed my failed bag of trash, and walked back--very quickly--down the trash walk of shame. Tonight, I will have to open it and be sure to go through each item.

My shopping list for tomorrow: opaque trash bags.



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