You know it’s summer in Japan when trains start smelling like really bad haliotosis and body odor. You’d think there’s no such as toothpaste, Listerine, breath mints or deodorant in Japan. (Note to those who’ve never beenÂ in Japan — we have all of the above although the toothpaste has no flouride)
It might sound like a familiar joke — how many people does it take to direct traffic at a train station? The answer at Akasaka Mitsuke in Tokyo is six. The station has three sets of stairs and there’s one person at each end of each stair to tell people to stay on the left side when they’re going up or down. Can we say full employment economy?
I’m having my sister buy my clothes for me now in LA because I don’t fit into clothes in Japan and she’s got great taste. I received a box from her today, so I decided that it’s about time I clear my closet. Back home in Chicago, this is simple to do, you simply pile up everything you don’t want and you donate it to the Salvation Army. Just like every other upstanding citizen in the U.S. I decided I would look into it in Japan as well.
I decided to do a search on the Internet and came across somebody on a portal message board asking precisely the same thing I wanted to know — where can I donate my clothes? The answer was astonishing. In effect, it said there are very few places, and what makes anyone think that somebody else would want to wear the dirty, ripped or outdated clothes that you don’t want. They said organizations prefer money, and if you wanted to do a good deed, you should take your clothes to recycling shops yourself and send the money that you get for them. Undaunted, I decided to do a further search anyway. I came across several organizations that accepted clothes to send overseas, but they either set a specific window of time, only accepted certain types of clothing, and required the donator to also provide the shipping fees to send it to Cambodia, the Phillipines or Nepal. Most of them were also very specific about clothes being dry-cleaned or ironed beforehand. Yeah, right.
I guess the bottom line is there really is no place to donate clothes. It kills me to throw things out, but not enough to try and take them to a used clothes store or donate $50 to ship it to a country in need.