Things we have seen

Trip Start Sep 08, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Japan  , Tohoku,
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Japanese obsession with cleanliness and neatness is bordering on the ludicrous. No, hang that, it is ludicrous. We have just witnessed a man strimming the grass. Fine. But unfortunately this strip of grass was perilously close to a car park so a second man was employed to shadow the first and to hold up a large screen that shielded the carpark from any wayward strimmings. Just think what disaster could have ensued if a blade of grass were allowed to lie loose on open tarmac. What insult to aesthetic purity, what affront to cultured sensibilities.
Of course both men were wearing full body suits, eye protectors, face masks. We have witnessed farmers in fields clad head to toe in thick yellow plastic contamination suits as if they were working in a toxic plant or handling fission material. We have witnessed teams of women in the parks on hands and knees, faces to the ground as they ensure not a single weed escapes their attention. And as these women needlepoint the earth, not a single square centimeter of skin is exposed to the evil, cancerous rays of the sun, not a single part of their body comes into direct contact with the viral soil.
We have witnessed lorries absolutely spotless, as if they have just come off the production line. We have witnessed concrete mixers with nothing but the slightest dusting of cement on the fabric at the end of their chutes. How? But more to the point why? What are you afraid of?
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