01 February 2013 ~ 2 Comments

Condoms, Crack Vials and Forties

I walked past our generally pristine school garden today just as the gardener was dredging it. The stuff he was pulling out of it almost turned my stomach.

What was astonishing, and admirable in a way, was the utter workaday expression on his face as he did so. Of course he’d been working at the school for years so he’d probably cleaned out that thing quite a few times so it was all rote to him.


But as I watched him pulling all kinds of shit out of this otherwise picturesque pond, a few thoughts went through my mind.

The first was: if this were NY…

I played with that one for a little while. Trying to first imagine a junior high school (back when I was student) with a maintained garden and pond, which I could hardly do. Then trying to imagine someone being paid enough to stick their hands in it. Then, imagine what he’d be dredging out of it: I envisioned condoms, crack vials, probably a few forties and perhaps even a body part.

The second thought was: this is a perfect metaphor for Japan, serene and immaculate, apparently, but once you get your hands and feet wet, and dredge beneath the surface a bit, you’ll find that this serenity is actually hiding a murky pollution, noxious, toxic and desperately in need of a good dredging.

Some people here seem to only see the surface. And for some reason can’t imagine that there is anything more to it than what they perceive. Or they’re aware but would much prefer to leave that silt, sludge, muck and shit removal to the guy with the thingamajig, and just enjoy the resulting beauty.

Well, I guess that’s where I come in, ne. I’m that guy who dredges ponds in school gardens…somebody’s gotta do it, ne.

The things that go through my mind…


PS: Little follow Up. Had the following convo with my boy on FB regarding this post:


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2 Responses to “Condoms, Crack Vials and Forties”

  1. Michael Gillan Peckitt 1 February 2013 at 10:59 pm Permalink

    Wow! I just think that if your pond could talk, what stories it could it tell, although some I also imagine would more than a little shocking. And it is a good metaphor for Japan.

  2. Kathryn 3 February 2013 at 9:50 am Permalink

    Often, when I tell people in Aus that I used to live in Japan, they rave about how polite and friendly the Japanese are. I’ve found the best response is to say ‘oh, so you were there as a tourist’ – they can take that how they want.

    Using your analogy – if someone has a drunken one night stand with someone they think is a 10, does it do them any good to know what she is like in the harsh, sober light of day?

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