Yesterday I set out to conquer Tokyo station. Previously I mentioned this monolith station and it’s confounding vastness and so I decided I would spend the day figuring out how to get around in it.
Despite my best efforts and intentions, somehow I ended up really just spending the day in the gorgeous Diamaru department store shopping. To my credit the store is actually in Tokyo Station and that has to count for something – right?
A brief note on department stores. If you have never been to Tokyo you are probably picturing your local mall department store which probably has two maybe three floors of open space displaying mens and women’s clothing, cosmetics and sometimes even some home wares. Here I have yet to come across one that was less than eight floors and completely covered in merchandise. Men and women’s clothing, extensive shoes, jewelry, fine jewelry, art, home wares, two floors of restaurants, chocolates, a grocery story type area, stationary, gifts, I could go on. Anyway, they’re amazing and perhaps now it doesn’t sound so bad that I spent a day in one.
I did pop out of it for lunch though as it’s right across the street from Luke’s new office and he was free for a quick bite. We got a bento box and shared it sitting on a bench near his work. This brings me to the focus of this post (I know, finally); trash.
When we finished with our bento we put it and out chopsticks back in the bag they came in and looked for a trash can. Simple you might say, surely there is a trashcan within sight. There is a huge train station here, many people having lunch, coffee shops; all places one would assume where there are trash cans readily available. This is not so however, so I decide to keep walking thinking I’ll come across one soon but no such luck. Unbelievable as it may be there were no bins until I got home.
As it turns out there is a good reason for this and it is linked to the 1995 very tragic sarin gas attacks which occurred here and the subsequent security measures which were put into place to protect against terrorist attacks. Nonetheless it’s interesting and makes it so you carry your rubbish with you all the way home.
One of the most surprising elements to this is that there is almost no litter that we’ve seen. People aren’t lazy – leaving their rubbish behind, they really do all take it home with them.
Now which bin to put it in when they get home is a whole other post – lets just say the domestic recycling program was created as a brain teaser and comes with an instruction manual.