Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Garbage Disposal

We don't have one.

Seriously, one of the things I found out coming to Japan is a lack of garbage disposals in kitchen sinks throughout the country. Instead, Beloved has a disposable bag made of a very fine mesh that the tosses kitchen scraps into, presses the water out of, wraps in paper, says the last rites over, and then tosses into the burnable garbage (Garbage is an interesting process in Japan).

The drain itself has a fine wire mess to catch anything that she misses so it can be dutifully returned to the bag.

The more I thought about it; however, the better this deal seems. I can't recall how many times we had to deal with the rise of the 'Smell' back in my childhood. Mysteriously appearing one day, this all pervasive Smell would drive even the dogs out of the kitchen, pawing at their noses. That was usually the sign for my mother to work some magic with various potions (cleaners) and with a lot of muttered spells (Usually of the @!'"%"$"!!! kind) and flicking of switches, she would manage to kick the garbage disposal back into working order and vanquish the Smell. Then came the ritual of the Lecture about NOT scrapping everything into the kitchen sink in the hopes that the disposal would eat it.

My sister and I of course would nod and promise to never again do so, but we did anyway and once again the Smell would return. In college, I discovered my own brand of magic potions and spells to exorcise the Smells that came from being a house shared by 5 college males who had a rather aggressive indifference to cleaning.

There were other tricks that the garbage disposal would perform. One was the swallowing of forks, or other utensils. One never knew just when this would happen until a flick of the switch made it sound as if we had a rock polisher under the sink instead of a garbage disposal. A good chunk of my childhood was spent eating with knives, forks, and spoons that looked as if some kind of overly enthusiastic, if not too bright, dog had suddenly had a craving for stainless steel. Retrieval of said object of course meant that some brave soul would have to reach into the disposal and fetch whatever it had just eaten. Not only was this just gross in terms of what your hand might encounter, especially if we were on a build up to a Smell, but possibly dangerous as well.

Mom, in an effort to keep her kids from playing with the disposal, was full of horror stories about children who placed a hand into the lion's mouth and earned a nickname of 'Stumpy', or just got their hand caught in the drain meaning the firemen would have to come with the Jaws of Life to get you out. Of course, then your hand by that point in time would have turned green and would need to be cut off. To this day, I am still slightly nervous when needing to reach into a disposal, thus is character built.

Now jokes aside, it was actually a bit dangerous as our old disposal developed a mechanical 'tick' one time (Possibly a nervous breakdown brought on by repeated Smells and their exorcisms) and turned on by itself, randomly. We would be eating dinner when one of us would suddenly ask, "Hey, what's that weird 'whirring' sound?" to note that the damn thing had managed to turn itself on again. Of course, a few times it was "What's that weird sound that's like a rock polisher?" as the disposal managed to combine both eating a fork and turning itself on.

Replacement of the unit took some time and quite a bit of money. The only reason I'm wandering off into the trails of my childhood is to relate that, while at first I was a bit miffed at not having a garbage disposal in Japan, meaning we had to deal with the kitchen sink bag and the screen, I have to admit that we haven't had any of the problems I have had with them. In fact, these past 8 years have been nicely garbage disposal free living here in Japan.

Until we had the boys of course. Once the boys started on solids, I discovered that we did indeed have a garbage disposal and I was it. Evidently it is a father's job to consume any foods that the kids don't want and that their mother isn't interested in; especially if said mother thinks such food would add to her waistline.

It should be mentioned of course that Beloved has me on a diet for my health and I too am supposed to be watching what I eat (And if I don't, she is more than happy to do so for me), but it doesn't come into play in terms of disposal duty.

Now, I think I would take it a bit more philosophically if it wasn't for the fact that Makoto is a very slow eater. Normally the kid takes about a half hour longer than just about everyone else at the table to either finish, or decide that he's actually full. I, of course, am a rather fast eater. It's a bad habit, but hey, I'm busy or at least trying to eat quickly in order to switch with Beloved so she can eat while I feed Hikaru. But this does mean that after I am done eating and in fact, feeling nice and full, I start seeing food lobbed onto my plate by a flashing pair of chopsticks.

The drive back home from the in-laws' was rather case in point. Stopping by a service area, Makoto decided he wanted the kid's meal, I got ramen. My ramen was slurped down fast and I was enjoying just relaxing while thinking about the remainder of the drive when I was informed that Makoto didn't want to finish his chicken.

"Here," said Beloved, "You eat this" as she proceeded to fling three or four pieces of fried chicken at me. Protests of diet and being full were met by "But it's a father's job... Hey, what's that weird 'whirring' sound?"

"Nevermind," I told her, "It's just the garbage disposal starting up again."

1 comment:

  1. Been here a while and I just got curious about this after going to a few home improvement stores and getting some weird looks when I tried to explain that i wanted an in sink garbage disposal! You can't buy one anywhere here!! They're heavy and the shipping is expensive but I have one on the way:-) now lets see if I can plumb and wire it in!!!