I cheer Makino- he gets it.
Honestly, there are plenty of people in Japan who need cars- but they live outside the cities, and don't commute to the cities. Rural Japan is huge compared to the small bit that even the JR serves, so it makes sense to have a car if you live in the countryside- parking is never a problem there!
I can't see a reason to own a car if you live within 10-15 minutes of a subway/train in the city, as you can get anywhere cheaper and quicker than with a car- parking is indeed the killer. Never any place to park, even in the sky garages, and the rates are beyond obscene. Honda, Toyota, etc. should be marketing to the people in the countryside- that's where the market is.
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I've been thinking over other comments here, and I have to say I've changed my mind- specifically gyoza's. The idea of making everyone separate their own garbage is a brilliant idea, even if annoying- it makes everyone individually responsible for being "eco". I don't know why I didn't see it that way before. It fosters a sense of ecological responsibility in people that I wish my country had.
That said, there are some things about this system in Japan that, even if you agree with it completely, still make life aggrivating- it encourages others to spy on your garbage output (and those volunteers DO- they will track you down through anything they can find in your trash), creating a sort or cold-war atmosphere for a daily resident, and the other thing is really the RULES THEMSELVES. Somethings honestly defy all logic throwing them out, and even asking doesn't help! Especially with plastics, you used to need a special number printed on something to group it with PET bottles, now it's all together- it confused too many people!
Other things, like FOLDING milk cartons, I have yet to see a reason for. I wash out anything in a carton, but I don't break them down and fold them in the proper order (yes, there is one!). It makes no sense at all, and no explanation I have heard makes sense for much of it.
So in short, it's an enviable system, but somethings defy or confuse everyone (how do you throw out kero-soaked newspapers from a kero-spill?), and the foreign-language guides for trash removal are less than helpful. What do you do if you live in the countryside? Hell, even in Sapporo there is barely anyone who speaks English in trash offices- I'm lucky I speak Japanese.
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I hope that in 500 years, or less, mankind gets RID OF PATENTS, copyright, and all the absurd notions and laws constraining creativity attached to both. The fact that you can't invent anymore, in the fashion of the great Brittish eccentrics of old, just out of fun and folly, without shuddering in fear that someone, somewhere, even not in your country, can SUE YOU OUT OF EXISTENCE for creating something that may coincide with their idea is the most base and ignorant system of buerocratic and legal slime I could ever imagine. The fact that we needed something like XLUS to simply restore hope to the creative mind is infuriating, and I'm sure, just as you said Unagidon, that's what many will use it for.
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I would argue that truth is self-evident to those who seek it. What one man considers true another would call a bold-faced lie, even presented to them at the same time. Everyone chooses their own truth, to be presented to them in the way they feel they can best understand. Truth is self-evident, but the path to it is not. There will always be people who feel like they need to push themselves to extremes to find whatever truth they seek, and others like sydenham and Jonshiomi who see truth in a simpler light. The truth that we all get in the end, I think, ultimately is the same thing.
I am an atheist, or at least until I feel compelled otherwise by something I have yet to experience, which I am totally open to.
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I totally sympathize with her. As someone who has lived here for 2 1/2 years, in 2 different metropolises, I know what it's like- even when you speak Japanese (I do), it's still a never-ending list of unwritten little regulations on throwing out trash that drives me nuts! I've gotten into the habit of simply washing out anything that held liquid, but I still try my best, and throw stuff out late at night (you're supposed to wake up really early and throw things out, not throw it out the night before, and I think that's ridiculous!)
I still have to watch out for what I call "garbage nazis"- my affectionate name for the volunteer garbage scanners (usually middle-aged housewifes) who love to open other's trash after they see them drop it off and chastise them for not sorting correctly.
I know others here would say, "I live here too and it's not hard! You're just lazy!"- to them, do you actually KNOW how many little rules there are? I have a clue, and follow all the ones I know as best I can, but I bet you are throwing out stuff improperly every day. Even many young Japanese don't have a clue on a lot of it.
My point is, if you live in an area like a public apartment complex, where a LOT of nosy housewives can scrutinize your garbage habits (the last place I lived), it can be a living hell just to throw out your mostly-correct trash. Honestly, sometimes I just give up. The rules here for some of it are ridiculous even to Japanese that I speak to.
In my country, people are paid to sort this stuff out at the dump FOR YOU. Why not in Japan, where there is a constant need for new jobs?
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