October 19, 2017

Big junk day

Especially during the go-go 1980s, the Japanese were no slackers in the conspicuous consumption department. This started back in the 1960s, when the "Three Sacred Treasures" (a wry reference to the Imperial Regalia) were a television, a refrigerator and a washing machine.

Heart-warming movies like Always that take place in the post-war period dependably include a character who is the first in the neighborhood to buy the latest electronic gadget or appliance.

In the first movie, the dad (top right) is the first on the block to buy a B&W television. In the third installment, he's the first on the block to buy a color television (which would have cost the equivalent of several thousand dollars).

The inevitable problem in a country where storage space (like garages) is in very short supply is what to do with the old stuff. The answer: So dai gomi hi (粗大ごみ日) or "Big junk day." It's the day on which large pieces of refuse may be legally discarded in designated areas.

"Big Junk Day" produced a mountain of stuff in the central plaza of the apartment complex where I lived in Osaka. The first scavengers on the scene were the used appliance retailers, a great source for warrantied refurbished appliances on a budget (delivery included!).

If you don't mind crawling through the junk to get at the good stuff, you might come away with a prize. Courtesy of Hiroyuki Kitazawa, here's a more modest dai gomi collection. Cities that don't have a specific day will often haul stuff away for a nominal fee.

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# posted by Anonymous Anonymous
10/19/2017 12:04 PM   
This post reminded me of dad--the guy in the neighborhood that bought the latest technological gadget!

Not a television (of course) but I do believe I was just about the only kid in high school who had a computer (not a typewriter) at home. Yup: it had no hard drive and used 5-1/4" floppies but it was a COMPUTER!

I know I'm a geek because I still think that is cool. It never occurred to me that we should have the latest RV or the latest answering machine or the latest Polaroid camera. (I *did* think we should have a TV.) We were hip: we had a computer. --KW
12/02/2017 3:31 PM   
Hiroyuki Kitazawa?! dive deep in that junk, I loved the The Samurai Chronicle :)