lifestyle

8 reasons Japan is so clean

58 Comments
By Amy Chavez, RocketNews24

While Japan has some environmental problems it has yet to thoroughly understand and tackle, such as garbage in the Seto Inland Sea, overall, it’s a pretty clean country. The cities in particular are extremely well looked after. Graffiti is rare, people seldom throw trash on the ground and there are no signs warning of a hefty fine if you do. While not all Japanese people are as persnickety about leading clean and uncluttered lives like their well-known compatriot Marie Kondo, when it comes to public cleanliness, Japanese cities habitually shine.

In Japan there is definitely a prevailing idea that clean is good. From children having to clean their own schools to ritualized shinkansen cleaning, it doesn’t take long for a tourist to suspect there is something behind all these sweeping, wiping, sanitizing busy bodies who don’t lick stamps and who take shoes off before entering a building.

Here are a few insights into the culture of cleanliness.

1. No public trash cans? No problem!

One of the first things you may notice when the set foot in the country is that there are few public garbage bins once you leave the train station. In my country, I’m pretty sure the reason we have so many public trash cans is to discourage people from just throwing stuff on the ground. But generally Japanese people don’t expect others to take care of their waste They’ve been taught that you should always take responsibility of your own mess and take any garbage you create home with you to dispose of.

2. Tidy garbage

One reason you receive a bag at a convenience store even when you order just one or two items is that the bag helps you keep everything in one place, even after the contents of the bag become garbage. Who wants to put an empty drink can or dirty yogurt cup in their purse or backpack until they can find a trash can? No one, which is why having that plastic convenience store bag encourages people to pitch their refuse properly. In long distance buses, an individual trash bag is provided at every seat with the express purpose of encouraging people to use it for their trash (and probably to take it home) rather than just tossing it on the floor or leaving it behind on their seat.

While it does seem like a waste of plastic, it helps remind people to mind their manners. And if you’re concerned about the environment, you’ll use your own bag for your garbage and leave that plastic one for someone who might truly need it.

3. Private homes and businesses are expected to keep their areas clean

Why would you need street cleaners when you have a potentially endless source of inhabitants to pool from in the buildings along the sidewalk? Every morning you’ll find various people in Japan sweeping up around their house or place of employment. These are not building maintenance workers, but shop keepers, office men, nurses, etc.

4. There is an art to tossing things asunder

When it comes to household waste, you schlep your bags to the neighborhood’s designated curb yourself. On recyclable garbage days you’ll be expected to separate your garbage mindfully. And just to make sure you do, neighbors take turns overlooking the whole process (called "gomi toban"). Didn’t separate your newspapers from your magazines before stacking them on the pile? Didn’t rinse that soy sauce jar before tossing it in the recyclables bin? Tsk, tsk. You’ll have to take it back.

5. Volunteer litter cleaning organizations help keep awareness

These NPOs take the pursuit of litter to an unprecedented level. Greenbird, an organization that can be found in many prefectures throughout Japan, invites citizens to regularly clean high traffic areas of the city such as near the train station. I joined this group once and was shocked. I thought we’d be picking up empty beer and soda cans, fast food wrappers etc. But no, we lifted tiny little pieces of paper off the dirt with tongs and collected cigarette butts that were hiding behind shrubs. Most of it was detritus that you could hardly even see. But that’s the idea–clean it up before it becomes noticeable. And people are less likely to leave a mess in orderly places than they are messy ones.

There’s a Greenbird branch in Singapore (no surprises there) and the Japanese organization has even taken their skills to Paris!

6. Immaculate Public Transportation is the norm

‘Nuff said!

7. Cleanliness–even on the road

One of the things that surprised me when I first came to Japan was that even commercial trucks, such as those used in construction, cement-making and dirt hauling, are kept meticulously clean. Every night after their shift, truck drivers are careful to wash down their vehicles. Those semis on the highways are spotless, the chrome polished, because their drivers take pride in having beautiful sparkly vehicles.

And let’s not forget the white-gloved taxi drivers, polishing their chariots as they wait for the next passenger.

8. Neighborhood clean-ups

f you live in Japan, you’re bound to be asked to join regularly scheduled (and semi-obligatory) community clean-ups in your neighborhood. At these preset times, sometimes as early as 7 a.m. so people can participate before they have to go to work, neighbors don gloves, carry shovels, scythes, rakes and clippers and collectively clear the street drains, cut back the trees, weeds and grass and generally tidy up the surrounding area, including small parks and public toilets. A little bit of help goes a long way and residents can take pride in their neighborhood. It’s just part of the clean and tidy culture and also helps neighbors bond together as a community.

There are many more reasons why Japan is so clean, but these are just a few we wanted to share with you. And more over, they seem to work!

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Japan’s secret garbage problem–and what you can do to help -- Oh the things you’ll see when glancing at a nearby passenger’s phone on the trains of Japan -- The coolest figure collection you’ll see today: Space maids! 【Photos】

© Japan Today

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.


58 Comments
Login to comment

Sorry but there are a whole hell of a lot of stereotypes being replayed here, and while for some, maybe many, this is their view of things here, I could just as easily talk about just how dirty too many places here are.

Sounds like the author was having an orgasm of delight writing this article.

25 ( +32 / -7 )

Japan is clean because the people keep it clean and think cleanliness is important. Nuf said, I don't need to read a book on it.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

I live near a busy intersection, and there is a convenience store on or near most of the corners. The majority of them are roadside and so have no parking, They are clean and trash-free. After one opened up with a generous front parking area, the amount of trash on the road between it and my house has increased a hundredfold. I am annoyed daily by the selfishness of these people.

This is one example only, but I find that streets near convenience stores, especially side streets and back roads off the main drags, are often littered, with empty packaging stuffed into bushes or just dropped. When not under observation, or when they think someone else will pick up after them, people in Japan are just as uncaring as those in any other supposedly litter-strewn country - and with far fewer excuses.

21 ( +22 / -1 )

I agree with Maria.

Truck drivers seem the worst perpetrators, with bushes by roadside, or on a central dividing strip, stuffed with packaging, and coffee cans. The writer needs to get out more methinks.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

There are so few garbage cans not because people are so clean here, but because most of trash bins were removed as a "terrorism prevention measure," and never really brought back. You want to see garbage--try stopping at a highway rest area, where people will sometime dump days or weeks worth of household trash. And any park or beach after a big event, flower-viewing, etc. will be strewn with trash that people refused to take with them or otherwise discard.

So yeah, a lot of myth underlying the veneer of truth in this article.

25 ( +27 / -2 )

The important aspect to keep in mind here is social pressure. For those who didn't learn from parents, teachers and respected peers that one shouldn't litter, fear of public rebuke may deter people from casting away trash (I've seen this in action.) Of course, as you would expect in any population, some have never learned these lessons and so continue to causally discard rubbish. Long-haul truck drivers - for whom I have lots of respect as they have shared the road with me and my bicycle all over Japan for years (especially in this country's hair-raisingly dangerous tunnels) - may be in this last category: if you see a PET bottle of "tea" along the road, DON'T open it! At least I haven't been struck by one of these missiles.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Yes, anywhere drivers, especially truck drivers, wait for more than one minute will be littered with all the detritus of convenience stores and cigarette machines. Or go to beaches. And forests are often dumping sites. Japan is not clean in places where people believe they won't be observed or where they believe everyone else dumps their trash.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

The people in my neighbourhood who sweep the street just outside of their houses are the worst offenders for clutter, you can see it squashed up against the curtains.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

First week in this island country I decided to go to a non-designated beach (one the locals didn't decide was the Proper beach). Never saw so much garbage in my life - almost all from Japan itself. Also, during Golden Week, decided to take a trek of about 40 km from one small town to another. Never saw so much garbage since the non-designated beach along the roadway.

But my neighborhood was very clean. Wives did the garbage detail: cleaning, tossing, cleaning up. And, of course, the tsk-taking whenever I put burnable garbage out on the wrong day. Social pressure is passive-aggressive but still a powerful force so take that away and you end up with garbage-strewn beaches and roadways.

As for cleaning the bottles before recycling them - they aren't cleaned & sterilized before being re-used? Holy smokes!

10 ( +12 / -2 )

@borscht I guess we go to different beaches. I have been to beaches that nobody goes to (just pass on a nature walk) and they are pristine! Actually, they are perfect for a little get-away!

0 ( +7 / -7 )

The "burakumin" , a social outcast group, was traditionally in charge of garbage management. So nowadays, municipal workers are loathe to touch garbage due to the stigma. Thus, no trash cans or systematic collection in public areas.

"No public trash cans? No problem!"

It's certainly a problem in my nearby riverside park area, especially during BBQ season. Heaps of garbage. I stopped going to Japanese beaches for this same reason. One September, Zushi - one of Japan's most popular recreational beaches - was strewn entirely with waste, and no bathers despite the above 30 degree temperature. Unbelievable.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

What a clueless author. This placed gets severely trashed.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

if you see a PET bottle of "tea" along the road, DON'T open it! At least I haven't been struck by one of these missiles.

Ha ha - very true! I was always wondering why so many half-full very yellowish "tea" was lying around by the roadside on inter-city truck routes here!

In public areas, Japan always seems very clean. Heck, shopkeepers take pride in even sweeping the odd leaf away from their shopfront.

Sadly, it seems a case of "out of sight, out of mind" quite often - the amount trash I see underneath bridges when jogging, for example - is pretty awful. Not just the countless bottles and empty bentos thrown off the bridge, but bagged trash that has been purposely dumped under bridges and on trails. Washing machines, tyres, rice cookers...I see it all. I wonder if this author gets out of the city centre often?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Japan has a big stormwater runoff problem, due to cramp living. Needs a rethink and massive infrastructural investment.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Wow, so I guess this person must live in the burbs in Tokyo? Come and take a look at Yodogawa in Osaka! I think you would probably get polio if you jumped in the water. I`ve never seen so much trash and garbage bags piled up on the curve of a river bank in my life.

Go for a drive in the country side where there is no CCTV cameras or street lights, people LOVE to throw trash on the side of the road. Or go for a walk down the shore line, virtually anywhere on the Sea of Japan side, covered in trash!

Sure, you live in a metropolitan area it will be trash free, but this article sounds like a child without a drivers licence.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Japan is not that clean and this article is garbage.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Ms. Chavez has a habit of equating her peronal experiences in Japan with those of the entire country. I suppose her target audience are people who have never set foot in Japan, or out of the main Tokyo and Kyoto tourist routes.

I, for one, have never been tsk tsked by a neighbour about my disposal habits and, while never directly flouting the rules, have certainly been known to bend them to tailor them to my convenience from time to time. Nor have I been invited to join 'regularly scheduled (and semi-obligatory) community clean-ups' which, I may add, I've never actually seen. In fact, often when the crows get into the trash and throw it around a bit, that stuff is going to be there for at least a day or to.

On my regular cycle routes in the countryside there are at least 3 illegal dumping sites I am aware of, filled with old televisions, chests-of-drawers, clothes, PET bottles, general household refuse and empty cans. Often within site of signs prohibiting dumping.

And as for people 'sweeping up outside their house or place of employment', that is rare to see where I live, and hardly unique to Japan. Indeed, when I worked at McDonald's years ago we had to sweep 50 metres either way down the footpath before we opened of a morning.

And kids cleaning the school? Well, if the teachers haven't already done 80% of the work by the time the students arrive, they might push the dirt around a little with their brooms while talking about ramen, but the school remains pretty dirty.

Like most things Japanese, cleanliness is skin-deep and if you look a little closer, you'll see behind that thin veneer.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

At these preset times, sometimes as early as 7 a.m. so people can participate before they have to go to work, neighbors don gloves, carry shovels, scythes, rakes and clippers and collectively clear the street drains, cut back the trees, weeds and grass and generally tidy up the surrounding area, including small parks and public toilets.

Another Tokyocentric article being panned off as ALL of Japan. When are these authors going to learn that depending upon where one lives not EVERYTHING is the same as Tokyo.

Yeah we have cleanups, but don't dare to touch the trees, or grass, or weeds, on the roads, many cities and towns contract that work out down here and they WILL and DO get royally pissed off if someone or some group, takes it upon their selves to trim the trees or cut the weeds.

If you want to do it, you have to get the ok of the local authorities and then you are liable for taking care of it for damn near ever.Typhoon comes, tree falls down, YOU are responsible. grass not cut, weeds over grown, YOU will be responsible. It isnt worth the effort.

I doubt the author sees the irony in what they wrote. IF Japanese were so damn clean, why the need to clean up in the first place?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Japan is dirty and most beaches are disgusting.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Yeah...... the author seems to have fallen for what I would call the veneer of cleanliness, or micro/mini cleaning.

Yeah around shrines/temples(the larger ones) some store fronts etc the locals DO keep them tidy & clean, a good thing.

But as others have correctly stated, get past the veneer & you will find clutter, some trash & far too many serious piles of garbage.

I also live in the inaka & certain roads are constantly having bags of trash, cans, bottles, & many small & large appliances regularly tossed as well despite all the signs saying not to dump your trash. There are places where the same drivers toss the same damned coffee can at the same place & you will see their personal pile of refuse grow over time.

Toss in what I generally describe the countryside as shabby at best, it can be somewhat difficult to find nice places free of trash.

And just try to imagine the nastiness stored inside peoples homes...........heck my own is starting to become overly cluttered & trying to get the mrs to see it is hard!

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Here's a beach in Aichi. I took this a couple years ago.

s18.postimg.org/bg1pxtrfd/image.jpg

Beautiful. Clean. Empty.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Here's a beach in Aichi. I took this a couple years ago. s18.postimg.org/bg1pxtrfd/image.jpg Beautiful. Clean. Empty.

Better off posting a link to a web picture than a personal linked one, don't take it personally but it's net security 101 to not open unidentifiable unsecured links to sites to people no one knows. Thanks for trying though.

Toss in what I generally describe the countryside as shabby at best, it can be somewhat difficult to find nice places free of trash.

Quite so, here too on roads that cut through farmers fields, old TV's, refrigerators, tires, you name it, as it costs quite a bit of money to dispose of them properly, folks just toss them where ever.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The author has only looked at a small part of the concept of 'cleanliness'.

Most office buildings that I've had the pleasure of working in are filthy. Yellow stained walls, from decades of heavy smoking, that have never been repainted. Carpets that are rarely vacuumed. Cobwebs in the corners.

As for schools and universities, not much difference. I currently work in 8, and all except one have dirty stained walls, and dusty floors. The one exception is a new build which is only 18 months old.

In my neighborhood there are dozens of derelict houses (the old wooden types). The local stray cats populate them, and live among the rubbish and god knows what else, that lies within them.

So yeah, compared to London and New York etc. there's not much litter on the streets, and companies mostly keep their trucks clean and shiny, but Japan is far from 'clean'. Compare it to Singapore and its a **** hole.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I often wonder if the author's of these "articles" ever stop by here and read the comments that people write. I wish they would, maybe it would get the "deer in the headlights" naivety about Japan out of their heads and they become better writers for it.

Or maybe they just get butt hurt and get the censors to cut the posts out that offend them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Yubaru Thanks, but it's just an image uploaded site. Nothing to worry about.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There is one word that is probably NOT in the Japanese dictionary and thats "fly tipping" its all to common here in the UK, itinerant travellers are the worst offenders, but also house hold owners are a close second, most are to lazy to take there old large items or garden waste to the local tip, so they drive into the country side and empty there car and trailer waste into the nearest layby or farmers gate.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Well, I guess the author is butt hurt.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If shopkeepers didn't clean outside their premises every day the city centres would be knee deep in rubbish. Of course not everybody throws rubbish in the street, but Japan contains a large number of dirty swines who do.

Large fines and forcing the culprits to spend a few weeks cleaning up the streets whilst wearing brightly coloured clothing with "Litter Vandal" or similar written on it might help. But nothing will be done.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

At least I appreciate Japanese public's effort to stay clean. Here in Malaysia my home country, people don't feel the need to clean the public space and leave it to the cleaners to do it for them, heck, some people here will spit at the road while people are still walking!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Funny how many argue that Japan/Japanese are just as unclean as other countries.

Sounds more like envy and resentment, that their own country/countryman dont live up to the same high standards of sanitation and cleanliness as it's so clearly evident in Japan.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

And one big reason they missed. The fact that more and more Japanese live in a dump with rubbish everywhere inside. If fact there is a specialist cleaning company making money out of cleaning such houses and apartments and it is not just low income people that are the problem. Many so called professional people hoard rubbish rather that sort it and put it out on the correct day.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Reason No. 9: I clean up the cigarette butts and other trash that is tossed about carelessly around my home. And my neighbors do the same ... that is, they also clean up litter that is tossed on the roadway. Smokers ... the bane of our area in downtown Tokyo ...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Let's just cut the crap! Here we have, yet again, a suggestion that the Japanese are somehow better than everybody else: they have this innate desire and ability for cleanliness that everybody else lacks. Of course this is total bs. Look at Canada, for instance. Immaculately clean in my experience. Singapore as well, spotless. More so than Japan and also more modest. This notion of Japan as some exotic utopia is further propagated and the litters the mind thanks to the rubbish of foreigners such as the author.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The "burakumin" , a social outcast group, was traditionally in charge of garbage management.So now, municipal workers are loathe to touch garbage due to the stigma. Thus, no trash cans or systematic collection in public areas.

The burakumin (Dowa) were in charge of preparing corpses for burial, cleanup of dead animals, rendering, and candlemaking. They handled the unclean, were untouchables. That has little to do with modern garbage pickup.

Risky, its rare for a neighborhood not to have some busybody chastising people for their trash. Lucky you! Sarcastically named ' gomi daikan' or 'garbage magistrates', they are a pain in the butt in a lot of neighborhoods.

Each place is pretty different...I've lived in neighborhoods where the big deal was cleaning out the drainage ditches on the by the sides of the road, another where we weeded the parks and picked up trash. Our present neighborhood cleanup is cutting back the brush, two meters in from the road, up 100 yards of road, the first week of July. We start at 6:15 because it's so darned hot.

The amount of stuff thrown in the mountains increased when they eliminated free disposal of appliances, the enactment of the recycling law. When it started to cost a few thousand yen to throw away a computer or a refrigerator, the dumping in the mountains really increased. People can't afford it. One other thing is ridiculous trash separation rules. Kita-ku in Kob instituted a pilot program where we had to take the wrappers off fish and meat trays from the super, wash all the plastic wrap before putting it in the all-plastic trash. We had to take all labels of jars (which meant a lot of time soaking them) , and as ridiculous, all cardboard boxes had to be cut up and put out in designated trash bags. After a general outcry, they eliminated the requirement for washing plastic wrap. It was an enormous pain, a couple hours weekly soaking off labels, cutting up boxes, etc. If I were elderly, I'd be tempted to dump it somewhere!

The fact that more and more Japanese live in a dump with rubbish everywhere inside.

I don't think hoarders to that extent are all that common...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

clean? you must be joking.... have a look at the beaches around chiba? from hospital waste to private waste everywhere. people paying city tax but no hard rubbish collection.... no bins... japan outside big cities look like a bit thailand and philippines to me.... i wonder where all this tax money went?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

My guess is not many of you have ever went to the beach? Most public beaches are filled with garbage. Used fireworks, left over trash from picnics and BBQ s. Maybe the city's are so clean because the Japanese throw all the garbage in the ocean.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I can give you 1 reason why not all of Tokyo is clean? Bums

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Clearly the writer of this article hasn't been to Kabukicho area...lol

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Title should read,

'8 reasons Japan is so clean in places where it will be noticed'.

Go down a side street, or into the countryside where few people go and it's a different story - rubbish thrown into fields and forests, rivers and do not get me started on beeches, disgusting amount of trash (i.e. Enoshima).

Not forgetting there is very little public spending on street cleaning so if the locals don't clean it, it ain't getting cleaned period.

Still, at least most of the time you're not confronted with litter.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Brian WhewaySEP. 22, 2016 - 03:13PM JST

There is one word that is probably NOT in the Japanese dictionary and thats "fly tipping" its all to common here in the UK, itinerant travellers are the worst offenders, but also house hold owners are a close second, most are to lazy to take there old large items or garden waste to the local tip, so they drive into the country side and empty there car and trailer waste into the nearest layby or farmers gate.

Nope. Sorry, to ruin your image here, but same thing happens in Japan. I often see old TV's, fridges and household waste dumped when hiking around Japan.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Go to almost any public beach and you will find more garbage than on any beach in Florida or California, where littering is a serious offense with fines up to $500.

Also, the subways are clean and antiseptic in Tokyo, but also lacking in humanity and civility. I am assaulted by Japanese daily who feel some right to push and bump with abandon so long as it is in the subway. In all my days on the Philadelphia subway I never recall ever being pushed or harassed in any way. To each his own I guess.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I guess I have had the odd can or potato chip bag or cigarette butt thrown into an area where I might park my car, and I suppose the guy down the street has had the same thing happen from time to time, but you get up, put on your big boy pants, and keep the area clean. And if you find trash on the beach or in the park, you put on those same big boy pants and "make a difference"TM. I know for a fact that people in Nagano, Miyagi and Hokkaido get up on Sunday mornings at 7 am and clean up their neighborhoods because it is a decent thing for a community to do. It is not about being perfect, it is about not surrendering to cynicism and despair.

I will say it again and have said it tens of times on this site. Please stop whining about how bad your area is if you cannot even get the ambition to change yourselves and your immediate community. Before you get on a bus to go to downtown Tokyo to protest to save the environment, why not save your community's environment? Join your community association. Get to know your neighbors. Get some community efforts going. Stop acting like a tourist and take a stand. Get yourself together, put on your big boy pants, and show people that you are one of US and not one of THEM. Follow a good example or BE ONE yourself.

I applaud my neighbors and most people I have met in Japan because they already understand this. By and large, the filthy countries I have been to are countries where people just lazily dismiss garbage as someone else's problem. They live in filth because they are too clean to pick up garbage like a decent person. They "care", but they don't care enough to do the right thing.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I see trash on the roadside here in Japan all the time. Not as bad as Italy, Spain and Greece, better than Britain, France and Germany on a par with Switzerland. Cleanest place I've ever experienced was Botswana!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I do feel sorry for convenience store garbage areas. More than often not, truck drivers or car drivers will place their garbage in the receptacles probably meant for things eaten or bought at the convenience store. I see this practice every day and it is especially worse at night when the workers come home after a long day. In a positive light, I guess it is better for this to happen than the drivers throwing their garbage on the road. Most do not do that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Every week I visit my local tofu maker for his wonderful tofu. THEN, I spend a few minutes at the lovely little park next to his establishment. With towering cherry trees, a children's play area, a single bench, raised beds for plants, and a two-basic toilet for men, AND NOT A SINGLE TRASH CAN, the place was a miserable mess. For about a year now, I have diligently picked up every cig butt, coffee can, and other detritus, sadly last week including a deceased cat in a shopping bag (tears shed). Lately, I began posting little signs for "no smoking" and "no gomi". There has been a decrease in both. I'll continue, as it makes me feel good to take positive action. However, I really despair at the Tokyo government's shameless shirking of their civic duty to provide simple trashcans in parks and workers to empty them. Shame on Tokyo, and I think, the rest of Japan. Please bring back trashcans and stop using Aum Shin Omyo Rikkyu (or whatever they are called) as a flimsy excuse to save a few yen in civic duty. I invite everyone to adapt a park and go for it!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I knew this would be another RocketNews generalization article by the title. I think Yubaru's comment at the beginning of the comments sections sums it up without more being added, save to add that a lot of the "Japan is clean" stuff is pure myth, same as it is in Singapore; look anywhere under the surface and it's a whole other world.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It's a generalization, but as a generalization, it's pretty accurate.

Japan has it's dirty spots and messy spots, but it's a hell of a lot cleaner than my home country

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Few things I saw on the train in the past week:

Guy going home from work in late evening picking his dead skin from his hands and arms. Underneath him was a considerable pile of discarded skin. Ugh.

Train station conductor doubling up and sneezing all over the platform as if he were a fire hydrant. Disgusting.

Japan is not all that clean anymore and I see a lot more graffiti now than years ago.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Took me nearly 20 years to realize that you are supposed to take the tops off "pet" bottles before you put them in the pet bottle garbage bins. Oops!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Is this the Amy Chavez who spends most of her time living on a small island off the coast of Shikoku? Well, maybe she should get out more into the mainland where families will go to the beach and leave whole barbecue sets, tables and chairs and all the other paraphernalia of beach life just sitting there until the next high tide sweeps it off the beach! And while those plastic bags from every combini are great at keeping trash together they also allow for the quick tossing of it from car windows. I have seen this done more than a few times.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Another Tokyocentric article being panned off as ALL of Japan. When are these authors going to learn that depending upon where one lives not EVERYTHING is the same as Tokyo.

A Tokyocentric article written by someone who lives on a small island in Okayama prefecture?

Her experience is certainly limited but it isn't informed by living in Tokyo.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's a generalization, but as a generalization, it's pretty accurate.

I agree in general, Just stepped outside my Besso this morning and some dog owner decided to welcome me back to my second home with a nice fresh turd left on the pavement

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No Ginger at Sep. 22, 2016 - 10:41PM JST Took me nearly 20 years to realize that you are supposed to take the tops off "pet" bottles before you put them in the pet bottle garbage bins. Oops! ...... Ha ha! I can top your story - no pun meant. Most recycle bins in front of convenient stores have two slots: one for the bottle and one for the cap. Well, I thought, that's really efficient. Only much later did I notice that both fell into the same bag. Still, it did help, but...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Only much later did I notice that both fell into the same bag. Still, it did help, but...

Same thing when they have separate slots for cans and bottles - they almost always go into the same bag!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

well ... come to my country side .. katori .. u'll see lots of weird stuff along the road ...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

i disagree on one item: Umbrella saw many japanese ppl just throw them once they r broken during a storm at the walkway or the road without any second thoughts!!

Just look for urself outside after the storm ends.

All the spiky frames r soo dangerous!

no wonder umbrella can become ghost tales in japan, ppl should hv some respect for it

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sadly, it seems a case of "out of sight, out of mind" quite often - the amount trash I see underneath bridges when jogging, for example - is pretty awful.

I see this cycling. In some places surveillance cameras have been installed under bridges to discourage people from depositing trash there.

As for schools and universities, not much difference. I currently work in 8, and all except one have dirty stained walls, and dusty floors. The one exception is a new build which is only 18 months old.

Must be a different Japan from the one I know. I've taught at five universities in Japan in recent years and visited a number of others. All were clean and tidy although private universities seem to be somewhat better than national universities. I also visited a number of Tokyo area high schools both public and private last year. Nothing like what you describe.

The amount of stuff thrown in the mountains increased when they eliminated free disposal of appliances, the enactment of the recycling law. When it started to cost a few thousand yen to throw away a computer or a refrigerator, the dumping in the mountains really increased.

Yes, I've long thought that by putting in the fees and having so many rules they encouraged a certain type of person to haul their crap out into the countryside and dump it.

you must be joking.... have a look at the beaches around chiba?

Yeah, I've looked at the beaches around Chiba, at least the ones north and south of Omai. I've even jogged barefoot on those beaches. Reasonably clean except after storms.

Join your community association. Get to know your neighbors. Get some community efforts going. Stop acting like a tourist and take a stand. Get yourself together, put on your big boy pants, and show people that you are one of US and not one of THEM. Follow a good example or BE ONE yourself.

Hear! Hear! And, if you don't like Japanese politics, naturalize. Vote. Run for office.

Japan is not all that clean anymore and I see a lot more graffiti now than years ago.

Indeed. Japan in the 70s was messier but totally graffiti free. Another import from the US or the UK?

General comment: Anyone one expects all people in a country of 126 million to conform to a single model has bought into the wartime slogan of "a hundred million hearts beating as one." Like any country, Japan has both saints and sinners. Further, Japan is a large country physically with people living in tiny hamlets as well as some of the largest urban concentrations on the planet. If there was not wide variation, Japan and the Japanese would be really weird.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Really? So much energy and debate over Tokyo's Cleanliness? And btw, I notice no reference to the Tsunami there and maybe how that has contributed a bit to the beaches being dirty? And I lived in Tokyo for quite some time... They are neat and tidy people and by far much more so than Americans are on average.. So all the ones so miserable over something nice being said about the Japanese, GET OVER IT and be clean..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites