Japan is Eco

6 Dec

Japan is becoming more and more 「エコ」 (“eco”).

How do you say “eco” in English? I’m not even sure. 😉
It’s a Japanese abbreviation for “ecological” or “ecology”…and it describes acting out of concern for the environment.

In Japan, most convenience stores won’t give a plastic bag for small purchases anymore until the customer requests one.
And supermarkets often give bonus points on the customer’s point card if they use their own personal shopping bag rather than taking bags from the store.

Also many restaurants now use regular, washable 箸 (chopsticks) instead of 割箸 (disposable chopsticks).

Japanese automakers are working on making cars that use rechargeable batteries, solar power, or hybrid vehicles.

Every household in Japan separates their garbage.
And large, unnecessary appliances such as clothes dryers and dishwashers are virtually non-existent in Japan.

And even people who have cars in Japan use public transportation such as the trains and buses as often as possible. And when going short distances, most people walk or bicycle.
It’s possible to buy auto insurance in Japan that is only valid on weekends, because many people only use their cars on the weekend and use the trains for their work commute.

Also, last year, a few of the busiest train stations have begun using the footsteps of people walking through the train stations to generate electricity to run the station.

This sign says that the foot traffic over this special mat in Tokyo Stn generated over 3600 watts of electricity so far that day.

And then, if you go to 「江ノ島水族館」 (“Enoshima Aquarium“) south of Tokyo by 2009 December 25, you can see the 「デンキウナギのクリスマスツリー」 (“Electric Eel X-mas Tree“).
The electricity to power the lights on this Christmas tree is generated by an electric eel.

How about your country? Is there an “eco movement“?

11 Responses to “Japan is Eco”

  1. Sir Pent December 8, 2009 at 12:30 am #

    I work for a printing company, so we have to deal with:
    – lots of paper
    – ink/chemicals
    – venting fumes
    – water usage


    • tokyo5 December 8, 2009 at 12:43 am #

      I see. I guess recycling and also pollution are your company’s concerns.


  2. tokyo5 December 7, 2009 at 9:17 pm #

    I forgot to mention a couple other “eco” things being done in Japan…

    Some people bring 「MY ハシ」 (“personal chopsticks”) to use in restaurants that still use the disposable type.

    And I mentioned in this earlier post that Omotesando has begun illumination the street for Xmas after not doing it for eleven years.
    The reason they stopped in 1998 was out of concern for the waste of electricity…but they resumed because of the new LED low-carbon Xmas lights that have been invented by a Japanese company recently.


  3. Sir Pent December 7, 2009 at 7:03 am #

    Eco Friendly or “Going Green” is big business. The government gives businesses tax breaks if they can prove they have implemented Green measures. Some of the new customers my company has been approaching want write-ups and evidence of the Green measures we are taking.


    • tokyo5 December 7, 2009 at 9:12 pm #

      I have no idea what type of business you’re in…but is your company “eco“?


  4. gigihawaii December 7, 2009 at 2:17 am #

    Reusable chopsticks! Gross! Bet they are not washed. Better to bring your own chopsticks from home.

    Actually this happened in China. Friends told me they saw left over food on chopsticks there. How unsanitary!


    • tokyo5 December 7, 2009 at 9:11 pm #

      Not gross or unsanitary!
      If you eat at a restaurant in Japan, you can be sure it’s safe and sanitary and everything’s washed.

      Just like cups, glasses, dishes, and silverware…the chopsticks can be washed and reused.
      They’re the same ones people uses in their homes…not the cheap, balsa wood, disposable types, but real chopsticks.


  5. cuteandcurls December 6, 2009 at 5:24 pm #

    An electric eel runned Christmas tree?! Now Ive heard it all 🙂


    • tokyo5 December 6, 2009 at 5:54 pm #

      I guess that is the kind of thing that can only be found in Japan!


  6. In10Words aka "Galileo" December 6, 2009 at 2:59 pm #

    We here in America call it “Going Green.” While that foot-powered sidewalk is an awesome idea, but the average American would most likely stand on it and wonder why it’s not moving.


    • tokyo5 December 6, 2009 at 3:07 pm #

      >We here in America call it “Going Green.”

      “Going green”. OK, thanks.

      >the average American would most likely stand on it and wonder why it’s not moving.



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