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kuchikomi

Messy 'manshons' less visible than junk houses, but just as filthy

49 Comments

For every one of its meticulously sculptured Zen gardens, Japan has a disproportionate number of refuse-ridden residences. Writing in Shukan Shincho (May 5-12), Masumi Fukuda notes that Japan is not only home to the odious "gomi yashiki" (houses overflowing with junk), it also boasts "gomi-beya," apartments and condominiums crammed with clutter from floor to ceiling.

And while males may have a reputation for being slovenly, the ratio of customers at cleanup services shows that females account for an overwhelming 70% of the business.

"Occupation-wise, nurses are head and shoulders over the others," says Hisashi Sasaki, president of Mago-no-Te, a cleanup service based in Tokyo's Edogawa Ward. "We get lots of doctors too. And likewise licensed care providers and care managers as well. I'd say about 40% of all our business comes from the medical services sector.

"They don't want their neighbors to know of their slovenly habits, and request the cleanup firm to help them keep up their image. For such customers, instead of refuse bags, we remove the trash using cardboard boxes, as if we were a moving service," Sasaki explains. "On average, a job like that will run between 300,000 and 400,000 yen. But in some cases our charges have exceeded 1 million yen."

In more than a few jobs of this magnitude, the volume of rubbish has been known to fill a 4-ton truck.

The reasons why people today accumulate so much rubbish, Fukuda writes, are almost too numerous to mention. One is that they are simply too busy to engage in cleanups. When some young people start their first jobs, the unfamiliar work causes them to build up a lot of stress, and they just don't have the stamina to perform household chores. Some may suffer from a recognizable condition, such as ADHD. Others, after moving into a new place, have trouble familiarizing themselves with the local rules for discarding trash. If someone complains about them putting out their "gomi" on the wrong day, their reaction is to stop throwing stuff away. People suffering depression due to divorce, the death of a family member, etc. may also be so distracted they allow waste to pile up.

In one extreme case, Hideaki Sakata, president of Eco Friendly, had been summoned to a company dormitory by its manager, and was led to a room reeking of a strong, ammonia-like odor.

"In the cabinets, in a drawer under the bed and in the refrigerator, 2-liter PET bottles -- about 500 of them -- had been crammed into every nook and cranny," Sakata recalls. "We're talking about an estimated total weight of about one ton."

The bottles were filled with human waste. Apparently the occupant had developed "hikikomori" -- acute social withdrawal. And since the dormitory rooms did not have their own sanitary facilities, he used those PET bottles as a substitute for the toilet.

"After work, people come back to tiny one-room 'manshons,'" explains Daitetsu Fujioka of Adachi Ward-based Dust.com. "In many cases they have no companions, and never receive guests. They spend whatever free time they have completely immersed in a world of their own, such as virtual relationships on SNSs. They feel no need for real people, and inhabit a place where nobody ever comes."

One source that's been blamed for the buildup of clutter is convenience stores, from which people obtain their "bento" (boxed meals), newspapers, magazines, beer, PET bottles and others. It should be obvious, but an environment in which merchandise can be procured on a round-the-clock basis makes the accumulation of clutter that much easier.

"Once I was called by a woman named Kaoru, who held a regular job by day and performed as a stripper by night," relates the spouse of the aforementioned Sasaki, who operates her own cleanup service. "She told me she wanted us to clean up her place, but 'only had about 200,000 yen.' Well, I went to have a look, and the ceiling light was broken, so I had to use a flashlight.

"She had money scattered all over the place," she shuddered in recollection. "I saw several 10,000 yen notes floating in the broth left over from a bowl of instant noodles. She'd washed bills in the washroom sink and stuck them on the wall to dry out. We collected it and all together the total came to about 4 million yen. I urged Kaoru to deposit the money in the bank. For some reason the ATM wouldn't accept the bills, so she took them to the counter. The teller had an expression of repugnance while counting it."

Mago-no-Te's Sasaki choses to take a positive view of his customers.

"'Gomi-beya' are a part of the human drama," he asserts. "For me, it's exciting to think about the next chapter in the story."

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

49 Comments
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I have always wondered just what kind of social impact the company dormitory arrangement has on young people here in Japan. No other country does it to my knowledge, and I've always seen it as incredibly out of date. It's as if the staff were soldiers! Wait a minute...

Being paid the bare minimum wage, not enough to survive in Tokyo of course, so you're stuck in a prison-like arrangement (with a curfew!) for years on end. Away from family (yes, I acknowledge it's their choice), living in a box, usually on an awful train line & a good one hour commute from your office in Tokyo. It's truly a miserable state of affairs, and I feel sorry for the tens of thousands of young people that endure this year after year.

Declining birth rate, depression, hikikomori - look no further!

14 ( +17 / -3 )

‘Gomi-beya’ are a part of the human drama

The real human drama is the people addicted to buying tat, consuming their way to the ultimate manifestation of the psychosis: homelessness with overflowing shopping carts of treasure priceless to only them.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I've heard it said that extreme neatness is the sign of a chaotic mind. Not sure what extreme sloppiness indicates. Both appear to be polar opposites of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In one extreme case, Hideaki Sakata, president of Eco Friendly, had been summoned to a company dormitory by its manager, and was led to a room reeking of a strong, ammonia-like odor.

Never understood why a company would want to run a dormitory. From what I've heard, some are forced to live there. I guess this was this guy's way to "piss on" the company by storing his urine in bottles. My question is, doesn't these places have toilets? Was he that shy to go to one if not one in his room?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I have seen some messy Gomi-Beya belonging to acquaintances, kitchen overflowing with bento-boxes, cans, etc.

Sad to say some of the messiest belonged to women(single, young).

Myself tend to be a rather tidy person( not as clean/dity as the Dutch), plus being a minimalist I have little clutter as I often clean and throw out older stuff. Got weekly and monthly cleaning schedule like washing the dishes after a meal.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

All Japanese kids famously clean their schools, including the toilets, so it's not as if the people in this story have never done cleaning before. Obviously stories like this go against the projected image of everything in Japan being clean and the those theories people come up with based on the word for clean (kirei) being the word for beautiful.

The pissing into PET bottles guy is way off the charts but the other examples of messy people don't sound that uncommon.

5 ( +6 / -2 )

Oh boy. I wonder if people who think that Japanese people are paragons of cleanliness and hygiene have ever actually been inside a Japanese person's home. Some of those places are so cluttered they are deathtraps! It doesn't seem to have much to do with the actual size of the home - in fact, the larger they are, the more cluttered they get.

I've seen everything. I've seen small animals, like guinea pigs, being hoarded and allow to run around defecating freely in the mess. I've seen children who blow their noses on tissues, and drop the tissues on the floor wherever they happen to be, and then stand on them (and these were good families). I've seen food crushed into rugs and sofas. I've seen white wallpaper stained brown from nicotine. I've seen walls encrusted with gobs of dried snot (at least, I hope that's what it was). I've even seen little kids peeing off the balcony - yes, right here in Japan.

When my friend's son left his college dormitory in Kyoto, she cleaned his six-mat room and came away with sixteen jumbo-sized garbage bags that she had to drive home and dispose of herself. I've lived in apartment blocks next to people who didn't ever bother taking out their trash, they just dumped it all on the veranda (the stench was horrifying, especially in summer).

So much for "kirei" Japan.

9 ( +11 / -3 )

Despite the appearance of tidiness in the streets and some good organization in small spaces, in my experience Japanese are among the most untidy in the world.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

All Japanese kids famously clean their schools, including the toilets, so it's not as if the people in this story have never done cleaning before.

If you ever worked in one you'd know most were pretty disgusting. I did NOT use the bathroom at the public schools I worked at because they were disgusting. Nothing like students pushing piles of dirt from one side of the classroom to the other. Never saw a bathroom that had cleaning products. I was the "toilet tanto" at a private school and lord, those girls came out actually knowing how to clean.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Just look at the ventilation fan in any restaurant you go to.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

AlphaapeMAY. 06, 2016 - 12:31PM JST

Never understood why a company would want to run a dormitory.

The same reason as expats get corporate housing in central Tokyo.

sighclopsMAY. 06, 2016 - 08:25AM JST

Being paid the bare minimum wage, not enough to survive in Tokyo of course, so you're stuck in a prison-like arrangement

Only sei-shain, regular employees, can live in a corporate dormitory. They are well paid and have lifetime job security. Unlike prisons, corporate dorms are nice place to live in.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Props to that cleanup man who recovered 4 million yen amongst the detritus of Kaoru the stripper, who thought she only had 200,000 to spend. A less honest person would have made off with it!

5 ( +6 / -2 )

Having lived in a tiny Tokyo apartment, I can sympathize to a degree. Some of them can get so small that it becomes difficult to clean simply because organizing requires putting the mess to be organized somewhere, and there is literally no where it can be put.

That's kinda a far cry from storing urine in bottles though.

WordStarMAY. 06, 2016 - 10:54AM JST I've heard it said that extreme neatness is the sign of a chaotic mind.

I've never heard that said.

Both appear to be polar opposites of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

We misuse the term OCD in common discussion. A person with OCD is fixated on certain thoughts or ideas which they cannot control and must repeatedly perform certain actions in order to find relief or at least hold at bay their anxieties. The nature of the anxiety and the ritual to avoid it varies from person to person. One person with OCD might repeatedly need to wash their hands. Another might have terrible anxieties about throwing out things they need, so they become a horder. Another might have rituals that have nothing to do with cleanliness.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The bottles were filled with human waste. Apparently the occupant had developed “hikikomori”—acute social withdrawal

lets see, how do we spin this. "well japan is the same as any other country...."

Households arent the only one hoarding trash, its small companies too. Its just too expensive and bothersome to pay the extra to haul away trash

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I was the "toilet tanto" at a private school and lord, those girls came out actually knowing how to clean.

Ha, if I worked at a private girls's school, I'd take toilet duty any day! My biggest challenge so far is to stop my third-graders from openly picking their noses and scratching their private parts (no wonder they have to get formally tested for pinworms every year).

I did NOT use the bathroom at the public schools I worked at because they were disgusting.

This reminds me of a private cram school I worked at that had one squalid squattie-pottie for eighty students plus staff. No one was willing to be in charge of that one, and the smell was so disgusting that I used to retch every time I went to work. I wonder if they ever figured out why I quit?

Props to that cleanup man who recovered 4 million yen amongst the detritus of Kaoru the stripper, who thought she only had 200,000 to spend. A less honest person would have made off with it!

I actually agree with you (and by the way, it wasn't a man, but his wife). But when you consider the condition of the money when she discovered it, you can hardly blame her for not wanting to touch it. Probably worried she'd catch something.

2 ( +4 / -1 )

My husband works for a house moving company, some of the stories he has are hilarious, others are straight up vile. Some houses are so disgusting that he has to throw away his work clothes before returning home. The number one worst offenders - doctors and their hikikomori wives. Anyway, one of the old guys he works with is known as 'the cleaner". No job too big or too small, completely undeterred by faecal matter. A few weeks ago he body surfed his way over ceiling high gomi to reach a window and release some garbage. Some anxious city hall guys were standing outside completing paperwork, just as the cleaner managed to pry open the window a dead cat flew out. The city hall guys ran for their lives, the cleaner just smiled. And so are the days of a hikkoshiya's life.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

It is a bit annoying when piles of rubbish collapses into your face while you're asleep on the mattress. The odour and flies are no problem, especially during the summer, since we have nice cold air-conditioning. Yes, it was doable thanks to the convenient stores and food delivery businesses.(You need to make it sure to get the food delivered outside the gate though) One of my friend used to live in the 'Gomi-beya' condominium too before marriage and he was a TV news reporter.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

How is it possible to live in a company dormitory and also be a hikikomori? The guy has to go to work every day or he will be fired. It sounds more like he was a sociopath.

I lived in a company dormitory for a short while when I was sent to their factory in the middle of nowhere. The room was small, but there was a TV area and a dining room. It was very cheap and the meals were good. I wouldn't have wanted to stay there for years, but for short periods it was OK.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The number one worst offenders - doctors and their hikikomori wives.

A large number of my private students are either doctors or doctors' wives, and a few of them are somewhat "unique" but all of them are just lovely. I have to wonder about the shut-ins that I'm not meeting. I've noticed that doctors and their wives are often not particularly good matches, but stick together for the sake of appearances ... and also, what woman with no qualifications or skills is going to give up the status of being a doctor's wife?

And so are the days of a hikkoshiya's life.

And that's why I always tip the movers, and treat them like treasured guests in my home! Bless them all.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It's such a pain in the ass to put trash out here I am not surprised busy people develop a backlog. This whole country assumes everyone has a house wife. My building for example requires cardboard be put into a special locked shed. The problem is it's only unlocked 8am - Noon on Mon/Wed/Friday. Anyone with a job is going to find that pretty unworkable.

The most hilarious part is there was a gap between the shed door and the roof and I think people must have been slipping cardboard in that way when it was locked. I am assuming this because recently the building manager zip-tied a grill over it.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

CH3CHO:

corporate dorms are nice place to live in.

They are hovels designed for single men who have no idea to cook, clean - and in some cases - bathe. A tiny step up from college dorms.

4 ( +5 / -0 )

They are hovels designed for single men who have no idea to cook, clean - and in some cases - bathe.

I used to teach English to a delightful young lady who put herself through trade school by working as a cleaner in one of those "dormitories" - and she said exactly the same thing as you!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

These are single case samples which are never meant to be generalized to a polpuation. Look at the source and it's easy to see why it is 'Kuchikomi.'

For every example of a dirty house or apartment, there is one on the other side of the spectrum, i.e., clean and tidy. Odds are the results would fall into a bell curve.

I've seen a lot worse in the States.

1 ( +2 / -2 )

hhaa ain interesting article indeed - Does anyone know how I could get in contact with Kaoru to offer some minimalistic style life coaching !

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Have visited a handful of company male dormitory rooms and never saw a mess but did notice one thing in common: a box of tissues and a bottle of hand lotion placed next to where the futon is laid out every night ...

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Of much greater concern should be the psychological conditions that precipitate this kind of behaviour. The number of people unable to establish new routines or accept criticism and who hide rather than deal with their personal issues until they're buried in their own waste is a sign that things in this society are seriously amiss.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I have always wondered just what kind of social impact the company dormitory arrangement has on young people here in Japan. No other country does it to my knowledge, and I've always seen it as incredibly out of date.

Many companies have sold off their dormitories in recent years, especially in Tokyo. It's far less common than in the past. The ones I've seen have been quite attractive and they certainly save you having to pay steep rents to say nothing of key money and deposits. Dormitories now are more typically for temporary workers than for regular employees.

Company provided housing is common in some countries. It is not at all unusual in the mining and construction industries. Some universities in the US provide it for academic staff as an option. I wish my Japanese employer had company housing. It would save me a substantial amount and boost my real income.

Declining birth rate, depression, hikikomori - look no further!

The birth rate is not declining. It's stable having come up to the 1.42-1.43 level after having been down to 1.26 in 2005. Hikikomori is largely a myth.

All Japanese kids famously clean their schools, including the toilets, so it's not as if the people in this story have never done cleaning before.

Toilet cleaning has largely died out. Two weeks ago I actually surveyed my Japanese college students about this. Fewer than a third had done it.

Anyone who thinks the kind of thing taken up in the article is peculiar to Japan should do a search on "hoarding syndrome" or "Diogenes syndrome." I have seen the patterns described in this article in both the US and the UK. My aunt was a compulsive hoarder. She had both her home and her car full of junk. One of the odd jobs I had in college in the US was cleaning up student rentals when the students (all Americans) moved out. Some of them were so bad I would gag while working. I found another job as soon as I could.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

very good story... shows the zombie world japan

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Definitely not a problem limited to Japan. I know of many such instances in my home country. Know a woman who alternated monthly trips with her sister (staying a week each time) to clean out the house left by their late parents. It took them eight years.

Don't really see any connection with students cleaning school restrooms. Cleaning a basically empty restroom, and sorting through and making decisions about what to do with things, are very different chores.

Company dormitories were a necessity and a great benefit when large cities were rebuilding and expanding after being largely destroyed in WWII and new hires were often from outside the cities and unable to pay for a place of their own. It also meant rural families didn't have to worry as much about their children going off to live in the big city (in those days new hires were often very young, having only just graduated from junior high school). Even in the late 70s and early 80s I remember companies that required females to be either living with family or in a company dorm. Nowadays new hires are more likely to be older, having graduated from at least high school, and companies are less paternalistic.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Tessa,

Oh boy. I wonder if people who think that Japanese people are paragons of cleanliness and hygiene have ever actually been inside a Japanese person's home.

This was what I think too until I've done like Tessa... I'm quite tidy and a minimalist. I've discover this makes me feel better and positive, and is also good for the health. Because I'm rather insomniac, I find I sleep and live better in place with minimal clutter. Its just a matter of habit and easily trained, like the mindset of respecting your money and it looks better in the bank and investment vs using it to hoard stuff (also helps your small living space) When you respect the quality of your life, you respect yourself. In my humble opinion ^^

I wonder if it reflects mental state (like depression or fatigue). Since I know someone who is in a burnout state, and she has stuff like food, clothes, money, etc all strewn on the floor, bed, desk, toilet. The thing is, the person is very neat when going outside. It's confusing :-z

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Forgot to mention, I was also wondering about how the fellow who urinated in plastic bottles in his room rather than use the shared toilet was functioning at work. But I get the impression he had moved out and therefore they were cleaning out his room, so maybe he hadn't been functioning and had quit the job?

As another aside, I've seen documentaries of company dorms at Chinese factories that house workers who come from the countryside. They don't have much opportunity to clutter up their rooms with personal stuff as they are shared with a lot of roommates, working and sleeping in shifts in the same beds in small windowless rooms. The Japanese dorms look like hotels in comparison.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sleeping in shifts and sharing beds is known as 'hot-bunking' common in the military, Navy and subs.

Had to do it for 2 weeks = not fun.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Not limited to Japan to be sure, BUT I have never encountered anywhere near the percentage of households similar to what the article talks about I have seen here in Japan.

Sadly, I can understand a lot of it. As a child, my family was quite poor. Yet, the house, our clothes (ancient hand my downs from older, richer cousins) though often with holes and our bodies were always clean. As busy as my parents were, they were home by a decent hour each and every night. Not a single night "working" until the last train.

It is very hard to maintain cleanliness when you get home around midnight every night and leave for work around six am every morning.

Plus, as someone else stated, not being able to take your garbage out the night before nor even the morning of pick up until after you must leave, doesn't help. I have remarked to my spouse several times that I undstand it all too well. How in the hell can we throw out our trash with the goofy "system", if such as mess can be called, as we find here.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Not limited to Japan to be sure, BUT I have never encountered anywhere near the percentage of households similar to what the article talks about I have seen here in Japan.

The thing is, we all know it's not limited to Japan (the average disgusting case of gomi-yashiki in Japan would probably make the front page of the tabloids where I come from). It's more the fact that the Japanese insist that Japanese hygiene standards are far higher than anywhere else in the world. I don't know of any other country or culture that claims any such thing, about their own land. I hear it on a daily basis here, and it's just really annoying, because I can see with my own eyes that it isn't true. Why can't they?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japanese dont normally clean until shogatsu, then its out with the old. Ive seen filth so disgusting in japan. Kitchens with grease not mm thick, but cm. Hoarding manga books and gomi bags, roaches everywhere. Ive seen poop in the streets with toliet paper, maybe some ojisan couldnt help himself. Companies, especially reform companies, with years worth of trash, almost like a compost pile. Clean behind that sink or under that machine? forget it. Pull it out and find rat and mice poop. Now, the Japanese people themselves are meticulous about being clean, so maybe its an opposite thing from the West. Ive smelled some very stinky people from overseas, who mask it with deodorant.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The Japanese are well known to be very clean, even from the time the first Europeans arrived in the 16th century.But after the WW2 ended, and a more consumerist society arose,it probably became overwhelmed by trash.So,some,probably kept it at home,unlike in some other places that will make the streets their garbage disposal bin

0 ( +1 / -1 )

One source that’s been blamed for the buildup of clutter is convenience stores, from which people obtain their “bento” (boxed meals), newspapers, magazines, beer, PET bottles and others. It should be obvious, but an environment in which merchandise can be procured on a round-the-clock basis makes the accumulation of clutter that much easier.

There is such a thing as gargage/rubbish/recycling. You can bring a lot that stuff right back to the conbini and toss it in their garbage can

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hikikomori is largely a myth.

No, it is assuredly not a myth (and if you really believe that, then you aren't Japanese).

On the contrary, it tends to be underreported. I have seen and discussed many, many cases in my role as an educator, a friend, and a sympathetic ear. The youngest case I've encountered is an eight-year-old girl who refused to go to school - or anywhere outside - for nearly one year, after being teased by classmates.

In my experience, hikikomori-type behaviour typically starts in jr high school. Japanese families are adept at hiding their anti-social offspring, and presenting a smooth, all-is-perfect-in-my-world image to outsiders.

Very often, school-refusers are allowed to graduate (on paper) from school even if they haven't physically attended for years, which only contributes to the cover-up.

You would be astounded at the true scale of the issue. It's huge. The fact that you haven't heard otherwise is a sure sign that you are not as trusted by your Japanese "friends" as you fondly imagine.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I can sympathize with 'messy' people- Japanese or else. I struggled all my life with clutter and getting organized and eventually led to major problems in my relationships and self-esteem. I went for help and now, as an adult, I know I have had Attention Deficit Disorder since I was a kid. The 'warning' signs were there, but I just thought I would grow out of being always in the clouds.

I'm saying this just in case anyone reads this who like me put it off. Don't. Now my family realized that it is not because I am lazy or a slob and at least my confidence isn't getting destroyed over being called slob by them. Also, out there there are guides on what to do. Unfortunately, in my case, anytime something stressful comes around, no guide or person can save me from drowning in clutter. I am also prone to depression and when that makes its nasty comeback any organization gets thrown right out of the window.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

It's more the fact that the Japanese insist that Japanese hygiene standards are far higher than anywhere else in the world. I don't know of any other country or culture that claims any such thing, about their own land.

Perhaps it's not always phrased in exactly the same terms, but claiming superior cleanliness is a common technique of claiming racial/cultural superiority. Europeans did it to many of the cultures they colonized, and I've heard stories of colonized people making the exact same claim back. For every Japanese person I've heard extolling the virtues of Japanese cleanliness, I've heard a gaijin expat complaining about Japanese people's supposed natto breath or fish smells or musty suits.

People easily get accustomed to the smells of themselves and their living spaces. People get used to their particular kind of clutter. Proclaiming other peoples to be dirtier is a historically tried and true method of claiming that they aren't really people in the same way "we" are people (for various values of "we").

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Revealing stories here that make me wonder if this is about the same Japan I live in. If so I am thankful I've been shielded from the unsanitary mess so far. I conclude that in every country there are things you'd rather not witness.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Never seen one, not once, ever. Animals crapping everywhere? Garbage piled up? Kids peeing off balconies? I've lived in a lot of places in Japan, but have yet to see anything like what's described in the article, or in the comments. People like MIL have a lot of stuff, but their homes are far from filthy...cluttered but clean.

The fact that you haven't heard otherwise is a sure sign that you are not as trusted by your Japanese "friends" as you fondly imagine.

Or he just doesn't know anyone with a hikkikomori kid. Really could be that simple. Someone who's single, or has no kids, and is no way involved in the school system wouldn't know.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If you ever worked in one you'd know most were pretty disgusting. I did NOT use the bathroom at the public schools I worked at because they were disgusting

Spot on. They often smell bad too

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is another aspects of Japanese hidden social "contradictions". The pressure to conform to social behavior norms and look good on the outside is extremely great in Japan.

Disposing rubbish is practiced like a religion on the "outside" like many other social norms among Japanese, while many homes can be collecting rubbish.

Just like banning of private part "hair" for display, yet pornography in manga and joshi-kosei osanpo are common place.

At white collar "salaryman" workplace executives appearing to work long hours, yet many could be just day dreaming and planning for drinks in the evening. While at blue-collar technical and engineering workplace, workers and executives are hardworking and skillful.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Disposing rubbish is practiced like a religion on the "outside" like many other social norms among Japanese, while many homes can be collecting rubbish.

Two sides of the same coin...so many oldies are flummoxed by the trash separation rules and the schedule that they just don't throw it away. For instance in Kita-ku in Kobe (part of a pilot program they are now modifying) Monday is plastics, which up until a few months ago included washing and drying the plastic wrap off store-bought foods , Tuesday is household trash, Wednesday is PET cans and bottles, Thursday is non-burnables and Friday is household trash again. One of the more stupid aspects of the new rules (2010?) was that cardboard boxes had to be put in garbage bags, but they changed the bags to ones that tore easily (to limit the weight of fully-loaded bags) and people are spending a lot of time cutting boxes up with box cutters so they can fit in the new flimsy bags. Insane...it's bad enough in your 50's, never mind being elderly. I would not be surprised if hoarding and gomi yashiki were worse in areas with the most insane garbage laws.

We have a large number of elderly where we live now, and the rules are much more relaxed...no designated bags except for household waste, some communities with large elderly populations are doing away with designated bags altogether, and people throw away their trash in cardboard boxes, which is handy for elderly using bicycles and push carts. So some communities are realizing that if you make it too hard or too expensive to toss your trash, people will do it illegally in the mountains or let it fill up the house.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The West has this distorted image that japanese are very clean people. They dont wear shoes in the house and bathing is ritual. What they dont see is the gomi problem in Japan. Also, for some reason, many old people poop and pee where they want too. Ive seen the results in the street etc, and seen one guy doing his business in the park. They will go between buildings and pee, I see it almost everyday. There is also a huge rat problem in many areas.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

They will go between buildings and pee, I see it almost everyday.

I haven't seen this myself for at least a decade. And never anyone defecating. You must live in a strange Japan.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

They will go between buildings and pee, I see it almost everyday.

Yep, me too. Not only the elderly. I live near a taxi rank, and those drivers don't care who sees them. (In all fairness, what else are they supposed to do? When you gotta go, you gotta go!)

You must live in a strange Japan.

I assume I'm living in typical Japan. I live in a good, solidly middle-class neighborhood.

For a time our apartment complex had a mystery stairwell crapper, and we never found out who it was, despite the CCTV. My student's daughter left her apartment in Tokyo and returned to Osaka because someone took a dump right in front of her door. I've heard quite a few stories like these.

Our elevators now have huge signs warning that peeing, spitting, defecating, and smoking (and bizzarely, spilling kerosene - who carries kerosene around?) are strictly forbidden. These signs are all written in Japanese. The only English-language sign is one warning all ladies to watch out for perverts and flashers.

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Lived here, been here, seen all the the messed up stuff here and this is just the tip of an iceberg. Japanese people have some serious wack job issues. We have a not so close japanese friend married to an American man and their home has stuff piled up on every flat surface anywhere in their entire home. I have never seen anything like this in my life. Husband is a porn addict too. Children are screwed up in the head. Total wack job family.

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