Napkins and Trash Cans

Two simple devices that can make a huge difference (at least to me).
Tuesday, November 29, 2005

For a country that is literally religiously fanatical about cleanliness (Shintoism is obsessed with purity), there is a serious lack of napkins at your disposal. Granted, I am an awkward Westerner and thus tend to make a mess of myself while slurping goopy slimy fermented vegetables with chopsticks, but because there were never napkins at the restaurants, I ended up wiping my face with my hand and then my hand on my pants. Wouldn’t a napkin be easier and cleaner? Our tour guide one day told us the Japanese are paranoid about trash and that we should never throw our trash in someone else’s garbage can. Given that, and the lack of napkins, I envision millions of Japanese walking around with pockets full of soiled handkerchiefs, tissues and towels. Wouldn’t it be cleaner just to throw those all out in public trash cans?