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Have a party, but be neat
2006-11-10 09:57
by Bob Timmermann

The Sapporo, Japan Municipal Government is considering banning confetti from the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters victory parade, which will be held on November 18. Parades need a lot of lead time in Japan.

Apparently, the litter created by the confetti would violate the Road Traffic Law, which bans the blocking of traffic, according to the Mainichi Daily News. Of course, a parade blocks traffic too, unless the Fighters were just planning to parade down the sidewalks. Sapporo does not have traffic issues that are anywhere near as bad as those in the bigger Japanese cities such as Tokyo and Osaka. The city has relatively wide streets and much of the city is laid out on a grid, unlike Tokyo which was laid out in a pattern that resembles a Jackson Pollack work.

The last two paragraphs reveal a unique difference between Americans and Japanese:

When the Chiba Lotte Marines carried out a victory parade in Chiba in November last year after the club won the Japan Series, the local organizing committee fixed the size of the confetti so that it could be collected easily.

The Chiba committee even asked fans to collect the confetti themselves after the parade. Maki Segawa, a member of the Chiba committee, said, "We wanted to celebrate the team's victory. In a bid to avoid any possible problems, we prepared bags to collect the confetti."

So can you picture a ticker tape parade in New York where all the people watching are told, "Can you clean that up for us?"

One major difference you would note if you ever attend a baseball game in Japan is that in North America people consider it their God-given right, if not duty, to drop all their trash at their feet in their seat and spend 3-4 hours standing around in peanut shells, hot dog wrappers, spilled beer, sticky sodas, and several strains of drug resistant microbes not yet identified by scientists.

If you attend a game in Japan, ushers come by every few innings with big garbage bags and you are expected to throw your trash in to them. People will get up from their seats to throw trash out. I think the floors of some of the stadiums in Japan could double as operating tables for multiple organ transplant surgeries.

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