Nobody told us about the complex ritual of garbage and rubbish disposal! Fortunately Warren as head of the household has been assigned this complex task. On Tuesdays and Fridays (every week) you can dump kitchen food scraps and paper - a one kilometre trip down the road between the hours of 7 - 8.30 a.m. On Mondays (twice a month) you can deposit plastics. There is a different schedule for 'pet' products and off course batteries, used furniture, clothing etc. Then there are the burnables and the recyclables with their own schedules. The good news was that when we applied for our alien registration we were given the 4 page coloured instruction guide in English. Before that we were struggling to work it out in Japanese. We were also given two large manuals on 'earthquake awareness and readiness'.
Needless to say Warren is beside himself on many mornings between 7 -8.30 a.m!
Fortunately our faith in Japanese ways has been restored in the 'filling up with petrol' process.
Our first experience was at our local 'shell' station. It was raining and when we pulled in, we did not have to get out of the car, simply pull the lever, using our hands to imply we wanted to fill up the car, and smile. Three members of one family including an elderly mother-in-law, hurried around us filling the car, cleaning the windows, checking under the hood and taking our money on a little tray through the car window.
Finally, the piece de resistance - the wife, with her umbrella walked out into the traffic - stopped the cars and ushered us out onto the road with a wonderful low bow. We laughed the whole time and Warren has vowed that we will return to that service station. We were most impressed.