Sunday, April 29, 2012

Gutters and Green Day

We have started Golden Week in Japan. Many people have the weekend and then April 30th off. April 30 is Showa Day in Japan. (not really. It is April 29th but we get Monday off anyway.) Tuesday and Wednesday are regular school days, but May 3rd is Constitution Day, May 4th is Green Day and May 5th is Boys' Day.

Tetsu has a three day weekend and then works the rest of the holiday. And he is spending this Sunday morning weeding the street gutter. What a lovely way to spend a holiday...

We live at the end of a long street. There are three other houses along the street and then a long stretch of empty lots. The neighborhood is old and when it was built no one thought to put in covered gutters... And gutters in Japan are recessed drains along the street that trap leaves and washed in dirt and debris. The houses all have drainage from their sinks and washing machines into the gutters so the water trickles along continually making it a great place for weeds to grow and mosquitoes to thrive. Yuck. (Can you see that black speck at the end of the curve? That is Tetsu starting his gutter cleaning.)

The four houses along our street take turns monthly cleaning out the gutter. During the spring months there is a lot of weeding to do, in the autumn months the fall leaves clog the waterway. Neither job is pleasant and we all have special tools for shoveling up sludge and vegetation. If I must say so, Tetsu takes his job seriously and does a perfectionist job, removing road grates and setting in grills... He has been at his job since 6:30 this morning and here it is 8:00 and he's not finished yet. I don't think anyone else is so meticulous in gutter cleaning...

Most Sunday mornings (or Saturdays) Tetsu will carry along trash bags when he and I and Choco go for a walk. It has been our routine for years to pick up garbage along the roads one day a week. It is amazing how much stuff gets thrown by the way during a week's time. I find it very depressing because most of the people who use these back roads are neighbors or farmers or people working in the community factories. Don't they care more about the area they live in? I guess not. And it is such a beautiful place if we would all keep it clean. Well, Tetsu is doing his part... again, perfectionist that he is.

My hero. Perfectionist and all. Maybe I could just say that Tetsu is celebrating Green Day a bit early.

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