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This is a tie-in to my rant of last Friday about the ubiquitousness of plastic bags here in Japan. I am not entirely sure whether Japanese like plastic (bags) better or (writing) paper. There are lots of stationary shops in Japan: The ones that are part of a shopping centre or a book store and cater to school kids with their notebooks and folders in every colour of the rainbow and then some. The stand alone ones that sell everything related to writing and paper crafts, including ink brushes and expensive foreign fountain pens. And the tiny ones where you can buy hand-made Japanese washi paper that feels like silk when you touch it.

This love of paper spills over to other parts society of course. Every larger purchase needs to be documented with several pages of paperwork and printouts. I still have to go through the stack of paper I received when I rented this apartment to weed out the unnecessary ones – probably half of them – and don’t forget that the agent kept all of them as well, and some copies went to the landlord too. And the reams of paper I needed for my business and visa-application… I’m not sure I want to know how much more my lawyer had to provide.

Interestingly, I receive relatively few advertisements in the mail. There is the occasional one for pizza delivery or Mac Donalds or a new beauty salon. Nothing seriously obnoxious, except for one type of advertisements: real estate. On average, I get one sheet of paper per day, more in the weekends. They mostly look the same – cheap printouts in two or three colours – and they mostly come from one and the same agency that is trying to sell the same types of houses to the same type of people… Interestingly, when I was still living in the old house, there were never such advertisements. Apparently they only distribute them to people in apartments, which is strange because there are both houses and apartments on offer, in pretty much equal shares.

advertisements for real estateadvertisements for real estateadvertisements for real estateadvertisements for real estateadvertisements for real estateI don’t know what annoys me so much about these advertisements. Probably the fact that I’ll have to take them up to the fifth floor where I have to store them until the beginning of the month to haul them down again for paper collection. That’s probably it, such a waste of energy everywhere…

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