Filthy Japan…

Aha – do I have your attention?   I tell you honestly that of the countries visited, “Japan was the cleanest, litter free country including the entire continent of North America (what I’ve seen of it) and the countries of  South East Asia, (again for the lands that I’d been to.”

There is an underlying group mentality and that is to respect their city.  If the city is held in high regard inhabitants want to keep things clean, after all, that’s how they were taught.

Reason #1:  There are hardly any trash cans and I did find that annoying in the short time I was there, but allow me to explain…The Japanese people put their litter or garbage, if you will, in little plastic bags and carry it home to toss out along with their household trash.  However, there are usually trash cans found, and maybe it was designed that way, near smokers stations.

Reason #2:  The Japanese employ their aged or seniors, it is a good way to keep the unemployment rate down. They are mostly menial tasks but in America those jobs are for the public employees who treat the menial job and a high wage is paid for: sign holding, guarding roadsides to make sure cyclists do not park on the pavement, waving people out of gas or petrol stations and yes, even more litter pickup.

Reason #3:  Japanese people learn at an early age and all through their time in school not to make a mess because they will have to clean it up themselves.  The Japanese students clean their own schools.  For example…at the end of every school day the students get into groups and clean a particular area of the building.  Those clean and respectful ways carry into adulthood.

Reason #4:  They are particular about how their garbage is sorted (sounds like me, actually all 4 of the reasons could be applied to me. My daughter always complains about my neatness and I always complain about her sloppy ways, so it’s a mutual thing…kinda’).  The Japanese go a step farther than I do.  They separate their plastics, (I always considered plastic recyclable) recyclable, combustibles, etc.  I said they were particular about it.

So the Japanese culture is good.   If the citizen’s of the world followed the Japanese moral routines I think perhaps it would help us all to grow and be better citizens.

Steve Richie

Hi folks, Two lives in one lifetime. The first me, lived to age thirty-four. That Steve was overly confident and oozing with pride. Then, on a record heat-setting day (107º) here in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, a one car near-fatal wreck left me in a two-month long coma. I emerged much as I was before minus certain physical capabilities, but my mind seemed mostly in tact. The crash and its effects did not change me (I emerged a happy individual) but the deeds perpetrated against me in the ensuing months from my wife of sixteen years scared and humbled me as I was dragged down with nothing left by my wife who now had guardianship over all of our accounts. And neither would she allow me to see our kids. She took everything out of, "Our" names and changed them to her name only; then would not allow me to our home and divorced me. I was angry, but no more. I spent half of 1988 and more than half of 1989 in hospitals, nursing homes and a three month stint at a head-injury rehab center where I was being taught how to re-enter society as this different person, that I didn't know. I was not able to return to my previous line of work, a self-employed decorator, you know, painting and paperhanging. It was a physical job which required much dexterity, finesse, and a good grasp of numbers. I returned to the beginning, school, but on a community college level. One of the instructor's liked my writing and I began focusing my attention on that. I attended classes at, "The Loft," A Place for Writers in Minneapolis. While there, a classmate of mine was having her friend from New York, a CBS executive, to her home for the holidays and asked me if she could do a critique on a couple chapters of a book I was writing, "A Day I'll Never Remember" and I obliged. When she returned to class the following Monday she told me that the exec wanted a ten-page synopsis of the book for a possible movie; I was excited. After obliging for that also, I never saw or heard from her or the guy from CBS. Next thing I knew I was watching a movie called, "Regarding Henry" starring Harrison Ford and the scenes of therapy were exactly like what I went through and had written about. Regarding Henry - could've been my story except that, "Henry" got his head injury from a gunshot and his wife stayed with him throughout the ordeal. Coincidence I'm sure, though, the therapy scenes entailed what I described in the book so I always wondered..... My hope, my dream is to bolster our income for my daughter and for myself. I am and have been raising this beautiful, talented little girl who was diagnosed with autism at age two, since 2006 singlehandedly. I divorced her mother the same year following complaints that I spent too much time with our daughter. However, Stephanie began school with no need for special education. She has been reading since age four and understanding what she'd read. Stephanie maintains straight "A's" on her report card, has published two books (through school) and has been selected as an, "Honors" student for seventh grade English. My ex moved to New York to be closer to her sister and has been remarried now for a number of years. Well, that's only a snippet of my sixty-one years and I would like to thank you for reading, thank you.

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