New year woes

In Japan, the new year is a big thing. Unlike in western countries, it’s a family holiday when all come, eat traditional food (new year soba) and go to the temple for a blessing and good luck in the coming year. It’s also a rare time when all all shops, banks, etc. can close for a few days straight.

Do not get caught without cash on new year. Most banks will close all operations between January 1st and 4th, and that means everything, even ATMs. It’s advised to pack your pockets with cash, at least 100.000¥ for the duration of the black-out. Countless foreigners have been found sleeping under the bridge after not taking heed of this warning.

Anyways, back to my story, another service that shuts down during the first week of the year is trash collection. Just a week isn’t that bad you’ll say, but:

ゴミ overload

Bring together the Japanese love of over-packaging, presents for the kids, family reunions… all in a 15 storeys building (that’s 60 apartments), and you get a wall of detritus filling up from floor to ceiling the trash room.

This photo was taken on January 2nd, I can’t wait to see what happens by the end of the week.

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