Monday, October 15, 2012

Only in Japan: Abandoned River Bicycles

An old bicycle lay at the bottom of a river bed in Funabashi, Chiba Japan.
Often I come across this scene when I am walking along the rivers in Japan.  Funabashi is a highly populated suburb of Tokyo.  It has over half a million people crammed into an area of only around 5 square miles.  With all those people there is a lot of trash to take care of.  Typically in Japan it costs money to dispose of large things or environmentally hazardous items.  This unfortunately leads to many people who would rather toss their bike in the river than pay the 2,000 yen to have it disposed of properly.  However, sometimes these bicycles have been stolen by a person in need of quick transportation and discarded wherever convenient for the thief.  This phenomenon is called Nori-Sute 乗り捨て in Japanese.

Not only are bicycles disposed of this way but TVs, fans, mopeds, furniture and other such large or electronic devices are often seen thrown away illegally.

A sign in Machida, Tokyo warning residents not to throw away trash in this park area.  Violators could pay a fine of up to $120,000 or face up to 5 years in prison.

When I look at a bicycle or other junk sitting in the middle of Japan's enchanting landscape, I find it interesting.  It almost looks archaeological to me.  As nature slowly wraps itself around and quietly disrepairs the once shiny metal, I am reminded of Japan's serene beauty which seems to overpower and remind humanity of its place.

After all from dust we came and to dust we will return said the LORD.


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