1.30.2009

Pink Slips

When I first arrived in Japan about ten years ago, phone booths in some parts of Tokyo were literally covered with paper fliers and even tiny booklets with photos of nude women advertising all sorts of sex services. An anti-flier law was passed several years ago, and you no longer see that kind of excess. About two years ago, though, I caught this "indecent fliers collection box" on the corner of Roppongi Crossing, a busy intersection of the nightlife district. It amused me. I haven't been to the area in a while, so I don't know if it's still there. Generally, there are no pubic trash cans on the streets of Tokyo, but this particular kind of trash has been targeted as something worthy of a special bin. I wonder what the real purpose of this box is, and what happens after the fliers are collected. Is the paper recycled? Or are the fliers simply reused and redistributed on the streets to save printing costs? It's also interesting to note the pink color of the box. These dirty fliers are called "pinku chirashi" in Japanese. Pink in Japan is the equivalent of red, as in red light district. (Editors note: As I am writing this, I am worried that perhaps the box is not really pink at all. I am color blind, and this is one of those colors that really baffles my eyes.)

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