I have finally solved one of those mysteries that I have been wondering about since I came to Japan and started living in this neighborhood. With that I mean, this type of small, suburban, family homes kind of neighborhood in general, not just this particular one in Kyoto, as I have come across the same mystery in several other places as well.

Let’s try a little quiz (and don’t scroll down to the solution just yet!).
What do you think is the purpose of these: WaterbottlesSo, what do you think the bottles – which are filled with water, by the way – are good for?

For a long time I thought they were used in case of a fire (and one of my housemates had a similar suspicion); it’s always good to have plenty of water around when one of the wooden houses is burning, and those plastic bottles, why, you can just chuck them in without further ado.

Then I thought, well, maybe, it could be that it’s a sign not to park there, whether a bicycle or a motor bike or even a car. Although this does not seem very useful, the close-knit way small neighborhoods work here with people on constant lookout for anybody breaking any rules, it could just work.

But no, that’s not it, and now that I have inquired with several people as to the meaning of all those bottles all over the place, and they all gave me the same answer, irrespective of location, I thought I’d share it with you: Those bottles are there…

…to prevent cats from coming to the houses.

Yes, I made the same sceptical face as you do now. The reasoning behind the whole idea seems to be that the water reflects light, and as cats do not like those type of flashy reflections, they will simply go away and take their business elsewhere. I have no idea whether this is supposed to work at night as well though, the neighborhood is not that brightly lit (thank goodness). I know that at the edge of roads that go through forests in Europe, people put up old CD’s, in the hope that the reflections from the car’s headlights at night will keep the forest animals from coming near or even crossing the road; and it appears to work. But, those a wild animals – here we’re talking about cats that are used to humans and their lights…

I obviously need a new category for my posts: All things Japanese – wacky stuff…

4 thoughts on “Plasticbottles”

  1. This is very common in Austria too! People think that these plastic bottles filled with water prevent dogs from pissing to their fence. Have you never seen that?

    1. No, I’ve never seen that! I guess where I lived in Austria there are more hedges than fences 😉

      Still, I don’t see how this can work. I mean, unless there is a new breed of dog with (additional) eyes on their… behind, it’s not going to deter them, is it?

      The mystery is apparently not really solved just yet…

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