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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Japan's attention to detail and guerilla gardening

 骨の折れる日本

What makes Japan great also sometimes makes it teeth-grittingly irritating. Japan grew to greatness because it typically leaves no stone unturned in its pursuit of something, and pays inordinate care to detail.

Corridor of Tokyo condominium.

While this can lead in one direction to near-economic supremacy and the achievement of great elegance and beauty, it can also lead to the plain old persnickety.

I came home this evening from work to our apartment on the upper floor of a security-protected apartment building. Our apartment is at the very end of the corridor.

The only people who go as as far as our entrance are the occasional visitor, the occasional delivery person, and the building's (very genial) caretaker.

Tokyo condominium corridor.

A couple of weeks ago we put a plant, a hosta, that hadn't been doing too well on the balcony, just outside the gate to our front door, hard up against the barrier.

This evening I came home to find a note slipped underneath the flowerpot:

共用部に私物を置かないでください
(傘、靴、ケース、遊具、自転車、バイク、各物品
管理会社

Please do not place objects in the common space
(umbrellas, shoes, cases, playthings, bicycles, motorcycles, any other object)
Management company

Warning note from Japanese condominium management company.

Talk about taking the rules to extremes.  Of course we complied and removed it, but had we seen fit to protest, the response would be: "We don't want complaints from other residents." Other residents such as the couple next door we never ever see, or the middle-aged-mom-and-dad-with-daughter-in-her-thirties at the other end of the corridor, mom of whom peers at us at length through a crack in the door, dad who snubs us, and daughter who regards us with busy disdain. In other words, people who if they or we disappeared would not made an iota of difference to each others' lives.

What we had done without a second thought - put a pot plant that needed a change of location out the front - had been turned into an act of guerrilla gardening!

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