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Is there a thing called "Japanese claustrophobia"?

Is there a thing called "Japanese claustrophobia"?

Old Dec 19, 12, 3:50 pm
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Originally Posted by BuildingMyBento View Post
But again, why is that every single little thing in a konbini/depachika is individually wrapped?
In many ways to help the paper manufacturing industry.

If you think of it as a cycle:

Redundant wrapping paper begets paper trash
Strict paper recycling laws begets high recycling rate
Paper manufacturers begets cheap recycled paper to make redundant wrapping paper
Retailers begets redundant wrapping paper
Repeat from step 1


Of course, this cyclic model will never work in the US because we don't really have strict "paper recycling laws." We just dump it the trash bin and it goes straight to the landfill and if we need new paper, we can just as easily plant more trees and chop them down as needed. Hence our idea is: let's reduce paper because it creates trash. Who cares if the paper manufacturers get hurt and it loses jobs, it's good for the eco-system! If we need more paper, just chop the trees down. Oh we don't have paper manufacturers in the US anymore? Meh, import it from China.


Their idea is: we don't have land, we don't have that many trees, why not just create a cycle then? Make recycling paper laws stricter, the recycled paper goes back to paper manufacturing to keep their jobs intact, people keep buying paper and they'll recycle them. Keep the cycle intact.

In a way it is redundant, but there are positives to this aspect. Japanese paper manufacturing industry is one of the most highest quality in the world because they have kept the paper manufacturing industry alive through this cyclic make more-recycle it-make more again system. If you ever held a Japanese book made with Made in Japan paper and compared to another book that uses non Made in Japan paper, you can feel the texture quality to be very different. Even the washi used in the Japanese yen bills are of higher quality than the pulp paper used for the US Dollar.

Of course, the paper manufacturing industry in Japan now faces a big challenge since Amazon Kindle Japan has started, but I'm sure some of them will survive. Either that or slowly go into bankruptcy as people recycle less and less paper as there are fewer need for paper (books) to begin with one everything goes digital.

Last edited by kebosabi; Dec 19, 12 at 4:07 pm
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Old Dec 19, 12, 4:56 pm
  #77  
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Originally Posted by Pickles View Post
Fellas, it's all very simple. Mrs. Pickles and I have concluded years ago that the Japanese are the weirdest people in the planet. They have developed their own weird ways of doing things over centuries, and that's what they're like. Accept that fact, don't try to change it, realize that the collective neurosis that is Japan is part comedy, part anthropological field study, and just go with the flow. And thank god you're not one of them. Works wonders.
I think geography and demographics account for a lot of destiny. Look at it this way. The whole state of Florida has about 18 million people (a lot of them older) in about 170k square kilometers. The Tokyo metro area has about 32 million people (a lot of them older) in about 8k square kilometers. So if you look at a place like the Tokyo metro area as the world's largest densest 55+ condominium - complete with tons of "condo commandos" - it may perhaps make some sense.

Also - the sheer crowding results in lots of strange stuff. Like non-smoking streets. Why? People are packed so tightly that - if you're trying to smoke a cigarette - you may burn holes in a lot of clothes that other people are wearing if you walk a few blocks.

Anyway - I am too old to learn a whole new culture. OTOH - cute stuff like this is a start for the average tourist (note that the music is weirdly addictive):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dFWSqT5mF0

Robyn
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Old Dec 19, 12, 5:06 pm
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Originally Posted by robyng View Post
Also - the sheer crowding results in lots of strange stuff. Like non-smoking streets. Why? People are packed so tightly that - if you're trying to smoke a cigarette - you may burn holes in a lot of clothes that other people are wearing if you walk a few blocks.
Not really. You will realize why they need to have non-smoking streets the first time you are pushing your baby down the street and get stuck behind some old guy chain-smoking away a few paces in front of you (and upwind).
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Old Dec 19, 12, 5:50 pm
  #79  
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Originally Posted by BuildingMyBento View Post
But again, why is that every single little thing in a konbini/depachika is individually wrapped?
Because it's more hygenic that way.
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Old Dec 20, 12, 4:29 am
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Had some groceries delivered on Sunday. Monday morning discovered a mango that was bruised to bits. Hardly surprising, since it was thrown willy-nilly in a bag and driven around London.

"Why wasn't it wrapped in a foam mesh?" asks Mrs. jib.
"Because all that packaging is not eco-friendly" says I.
"How is it eco-friendly to needlessly ruin fruit?"
"I don't know. Maybe because it will discourage us from ordering mangoes."

Last edited by jib71; Dec 20, 12 at 4:36 am
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Old Dec 20, 12, 10:24 am
  #81  
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Originally Posted by hailstorm View Post
Because it's more hygenic that way.
Is that your tongue-in-cheek answer? Then, why aren't shabu shabu and sukiyaki restaurants more hygienic? Why have kaitenzushi when anyone can easily sneeze/cough at/stare at the contents spinning around? Let alone, just turn to the person sitting next to you and do the same that way?

Japan may be considered as one of the more hygienic places to visit, yet I frequently enter restrooms without soap/a way to dry ones hands (yes, I know that people still hand out tissues on the street- but not drying hands is just as baleful)- Look at the showers in the *A NH lounge at NRT, the only soap there is in packets for the shower. Not to mention, if everything is supposedly kept so clean in the country, might it be more difficult to recover once germs are transmitted?

People who are sick that wear masks- as soon as they take their masks off with their bare hands, isn't that a loophole in preventative measures?

Calling it hygienic is a lousy excuse. I'm not worried, nor does it seem are the majority of people are, about being released into the wild of Shinjuku or Otemachi stations even during flu season.
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Old Dec 20, 12, 12:06 pm
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Originally Posted by robyng View Post
Also - the sheer crowding results in lots of strange stuff. Like non-smoking streets. Why? People are packed so tightly that - if you're trying to smoke a cigarette - you may burn holes in a lot of clothes that other people are wearing if you walk a few blocks.
That and try walking with a cigarette butt down to your pocket level and keep flicking it in a crowded city like Tokyo. That also happens to be the eye level of children. You don't want to be responsible for causing permanent blindness for children right?
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Old Dec 20, 12, 12:25 pm
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If anything, the laws are usually correlated to "lack of land" and "lack of natural resources."

It's kind of hard to imagine this in the US where we're used to big open spaces, huge parking lots, wide streets, and "drill baby drill" but once you realize that for every question why the Japanese does that, it's usually because "lack of land" and "lack of natural resources."

i.e.: Those garbage trucks are so small!! Answer: Well, you can't really run around huge garbage trucks like we have in those small and narrow streets can you? Lack of land.

i.e.: Well build wider streets then! Answer: Easy enough to say when every bit of scarce land needs to be utilized efficiently for residences and business which tries to fit 1/3 of the US population around the size of California. What are they going to do, force every homeowners and business owners out at gun point to pave wider roads? Again, lack of land.


It may seem uptight, but for a country that has the disadvantage of land and natural resources (the last time they tried to expand their land to gain natural resources, we went to war with them) you have to praise them for doing what they could do within the bounds of those restrictions to become an economic superpower.

Last edited by kebosabi; Dec 20, 12 at 12:31 pm
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Old Dec 20, 12, 3:38 pm
  #84  
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Originally Posted by BuildingMyBento View Post
Is that your tongue-in-cheek answer? Then, why aren't shabu shabu and sukiyaki restaurants more hygienic? Why have kaitenzushi when anyone can easily sneeze/cough at/stare at the contents spinning around? Let alone, just turn to the person sitting next to you and do the same that way?
That's your argument? Individual wrapping cannot be done for hygienic reasons because other, different things are not hygienic?

In that case, I will say that you are wrong, because other people have been known to be wrong about other things as well.
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Old Dec 21, 12, 10:46 pm
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Originally Posted by kebosabi View Post
i.e.: Well build wider streets then! Answer: Easy enough to say when every bit of scarce land needs to be utilized efficiently for residences and business.....
You forgot parking lots, which seem to be a standard use of land in most parts of Japan.
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Old Dec 23, 12, 3:12 pm
  #86  
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Originally Posted by jib71 View Post
Had some groceries delivered on Sunday. Monday morning discovered a mango that was bruised to bits. Hardly surprising, since it was thrown willy-nilly in a bag and driven around London.

"Why wasn't it wrapped in a foam mesh?" asks Mrs. jib.
"Because all that packaging is not eco-friendly" says I.
"How is it eco-friendly to needlessly ruin fruit?"
"I don't know. Maybe because it will discourage us from ordering mangoes."
You can order your mangoes not ripe and then ripen them at home. Of course - that would never pass muster in terms of high end fruit in Japan . When mangoes are in season here in Florida - they're like 5-10 for $1 at the store (and - if you live in south Florida - your friends will beg you to take them for free since they all get ripe at about the same time). The wrapping you're talking about would be more expensive than the fruit.

BTW - I thought the wrapping in Japan was really extraordinary. Everything from a bottle of gin to some small gifts I bought (like chopstick holders) to some things our hotels gave us as gifts. Very impressive visually - but sometimes more than a bit wasteful when it came to the everyday stuff (like the gin). As a visitor though - I loved it. Robyn
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Old Dec 23, 12, 10:00 pm
  #87  
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Originally Posted by kebosabi View Post
If anything, the laws are usually correlated to "lack of land" and "lack of natural resources."

It's kind of hard to imagine this in the US where we're used to big open spaces, huge parking lots, wide streets, and "drill baby drill" but once you realize that for every question why the Japanese does that, it's usually because "lack of land" and "lack of natural resources."

i.e.: Those garbage trucks are so small!! Answer: Well, you can't really run around huge garbage trucks like we have in those small and narrow streets can you? Lack of land.

i.e.: Well build wider streets then! Answer: Easy enough to say when every bit of scarce land needs to be utilized efficiently for residences and business which tries to fit 1/3 of the US population around the size of California. What are they going to do, force every homeowners and business owners out at gun point to pave wider roads? Again, lack of land.


It may seem uptight, but for a country that has the disadvantage of land and natural resources (the last time they tried to expand their land to gain natural resources, we went to war with them) you have to praise them for doing what they could do within the bounds of those restrictions to become an economic superpower.
A lack of land. That's not intriguing. How many people live in the Tokyo metro area? 30-35 million? Rather, at what point does the lack of "Tokyo" land begin (or end)? Does it include the Ogasawara islands? What is there a lack of land to do? Fit another 30-35 million?

Also, I'm from NYC and I've lived in HK. Those cities pack 'em in, and they have no dearth of unnecessarily over-sized vehicles, let alone space issues. One way they sort of addressed that latter dilemma is through landfill, the way Odaiba came to be.

As for the garbage truck reply- what about those huge (and loudspeaker-equipped) political party buses? Why are those buses the largest vehicles I have seen in Japan? ...maybe this is for another thread.
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Old Dec 27, 12, 12:50 pm
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Originally Posted by BuildingMyBento View Post
As for the garbage truck reply- what about those huge (and loudspeaker-equipped) political party buses? Why are those buses the largest vehicles I have seen in Japan? ...maybe this is for another thread.
A garbage truck happens to be more frequent than a political party buses no?

It's not like there's an election in Japan day of the week.

Frequent and small vs infrequent and big.
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Old Dec 27, 12, 12:55 pm
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Originally Posted by BuildingMyBento View Post
A lack of land. That's not intriguing. How many people live in the Tokyo metro area? 30-35 million? Rather, at what point does the lack of "Tokyo" land begin (or end)? Does it include the Ogasawara islands? What is there a lack of land to do? Fit another 30-35 million?
Build narrower buildings upwards.

Originally Posted by BuildingMyBento View Post
Also, I'm from NYC and I've lived in HK. Those cities pack 'em in, and they have no dearth of unnecessarily over-sized vehicles, let alone space issues.
Comparing NYC and HK is a bit different from Tokyo. NYC is mostly compact in Manhattan. Outwards to Brooklyn or Queens it's less dense. Similar with HK.

Tokyo Metro proper is however, compact throughout the entire Kanto region which is the size of LA County. Ten story plus apartment complexes, condos, and business buildings span out throughout Tokyo, parts of Chiba, Saitama, and Kanagawa.

Compare that to most metropolitan cities in the US, you rarely see dense and ten story plus buildings other than the downtown area. Even in NYC, the houses and apartments in the Queens area near JFK area rarely top over three floors. Compare that to Tokyo where near Haneda, and even as far away as Matsudo in Chiba, has ten story plus apartment and business complexes.

Last edited by kebosabi; Dec 27, 12 at 1:00 pm
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Old Dec 28, 12, 8:59 am
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Originally Posted by BuildingMyBento View Post
Japan may be considered as one of the more hygienic places to visit, yet I frequently enter restrooms without soap/a way to dry ones hands (yes, I know that people still hand out tissues on the street- but not drying hands is just as baleful)- Look at the showers in the *A NH lounge at NRT, the only soap there is in packets for the shower. Not to mention, if everything is supposedly kept so clean in the country, might it be more difficult to recover once germs are transmitted?
I don't understand many things the Japanese do, but from what I understand about restroom practice of not having anything to dry their hands with, they use their own towel.

They use masks whenever they're falling ill or to prevent themselves from falling ill, but they don't use soap. Apparently not in schools for teachers as well. Something I will never ever understand.
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