Friday, December 09, 2005

trying to save the planet?--a little venting

During the summer, the Japanese government had a campaign to cut down the emissions of greenhouses, it was called "Cool Biz" (I think it stood for Cool Business). This campaign encouraged everyone to raise the temperatures of their air conditioners to about 28C (82F) and dress a bit more casually: no necktie or jacket.

Satoshi's office participated in this and he was so happy because he really hates to wear neckties or as the businessmen (or salarymen (as the Japanese call them) here call it "kubiwa" or neck rope...If you ask me, I really don't know why all these businessmen have to wear suits anyway.

If you aren't dealing with clients face to face, why do you need to dress up? (I guess I think this way because I'm from Hawaii and the guys usually just wear aloha shirts and dress pants for any event (work, weddings, funerals)). Anyway, you could tell which companies didn't participate in this project, they were the ones carrying their suit jackets over their arms or in their hands. (need a hanger?)

Well, in October, the Japanese government came out with the winter version..."Warm Biz". This project encourages everyone to lower the temperatures of their heaters to about 20C (68F) and dress warmer--wearing a sweater or vest over a dress shirt, using thermal underwear, etc. Satoshi's office isn't really participating in this project, so it's back to wearing ties and suit jackets for Satoshi.

At home, we're also trying to do our share, our heater is set to 20C. I wear MANY layers in the house and try not to use the heater during the daytime. Our apartment faces the south, so our living room area gets the sun all day long. It usually gets very warm and toasty, so I usually don't turn the heater on during the day.

My suggestion to the government if they want to help to save the planet---cut down on the number of people smoking...

It seems there are about 70% of the people who smoke here (maybe it's just because there are 8 times the population here than in Hawaii?)

Some restaurants here "provide" smoking and non-smoking sections---um, if I'm sitting in non-smoking and the customer sitting at the next table is in the smoking section, can you actually say that you have separate sections? I think they need to have their own room to smoke in and not come out from it!!

I guess you could say I'm a bit peeved by smokers here mainly because most of them have no manners, they throw their butts into the storm drains, rivers and where ever they feel like it. If smoking is not allowed in areas, they take out their portable ashtray (it looks like a smashed paper cup) and smoke a way.

Sometimes a smoker is walking about way ahead of me, but the smoke from his/her cigarette comes to coat me...(ugh, and I just washed my hair!!) I have stopped hanging our clothes outside because there is someone on either the 1st or 2nd floor of our building that smokes and "perfumes" our laundry...

For you smokers out there with manners, good for you, but I think you should still try to stop. Food will taste better (and I'll be able to enjoy my food too if I'm seated next to you), and the fish and plants that live in the rivers and streams will actually be able to "live" , the amount of pollution that flows to the ocean from the rivers and streams will decrease and save the animals and plants living there--helping the planet all together.

There, I think I've gotten that out of my system...for now...


Anonymous said...

Maybe it's just in Osaka (or west of the Kanto area) but in Tokyo I thought the streets were mostly free of butts (cigarette variety -- I enjoyed the OL kine). And the only places to diespose of them are those thingies that resemble parking meters with holes on the sides. So I guess litter is stigmatized in Japan but not exhaling smoke.

In any case... it might take another generation for the smoke-free society to become a reality in Japan, where image conscious teens are still easily influenced by media manufactured images (can salarymen still smoke at their desks?).

My dad, an ex-smoker, gets FURIOUS when he's in a restaurant in Japan and there's a crew of people sitting nearby and puffing like a steel mill. My mom has to remind him sternly that it's DIFFERENT here and I guess they have the upper hand.

K and S said...

Hey Saburo,
I think Kanto has a law in place where you can't walk and smoke (mainly cause there are so many people walking around at one time). Osaka would never be able to enforce something like that. They actually have a law in Osaka where you can't drive and talk on your cell, but you still see people doing it. I'm coming to realize that Osaka is a city with not too many manners, I think Osaka is #2 in Japan with the worst bicycle riding etiquette. I think in most offices smoking is banned, I don't think I would be able to handle it if the whole office was all cloudy and smoky.
I can only dream of a smoke-free world, to me, it's their business if they want to smoke, but I don't want to breathe it and especially don't want to have to eat and breathe it.
Have a nice weekend!!

Anonymous said...

FWIW, the Star-Bulletin had an editorial focusing on smoking restrictions in Hawaii.

K and S said...


Thanks for the info. I think I am definitely part of the 85 percent.

Hopefully they can get something in place soon in Hawaii.

Take care.