Got milk?

This post might be a bit weird; it’s about one of my first observations after arriving in Japan that had me wondering for a week or so. Well, I did not really wonder, but I did notice it and thought it was rather interesting. And since this was more or less my first (and so far only) detective case in Japan, I will always keep it dear to my heart. See, a few hours after having arrived in Tokyo, I saw my first Japanese milk carton, and it was different from what I was used to. “Wow, milk packaging… super exciting! NOT!” was more or less the reaction I got when I tried to share my observations with the duck. But before you click away, let me explain why I was so surprised. Orange Duck

As you can see in this little picture of the duck with what is obviously a milk carton (okay, I did not take a photo on that fateful day of the milk discovery, so an orange juice carton had to do here), it’s just a plain old paper pack with no plastic dispenser to help pour the contents more cleanly or keep the carton well shut; it’s not one of those you cut open either.
Being the juice enthusiasts that we are (nothing beats a glass of lovely Japanese grape juice!), of course, we always have a pack of juice to look at in the fridge to remind me of my first Japanese detective case and the duck to literally roll on the floor laughing.
So, here it comes *drum roll*:

Debatably Dubious Details Detective and the Case of the Mysterious Milk Carton

The year is 2017. A hot day in July has me longing for a cool drink from the refrigerator, and there I see it-
Okay, scratch the exposition. The fact is, I did wonder about the milk carton for a while. And then I forgot… until I had finished my first pack of milk and was mentally preparing myself to sort it correctly because the trash rules were still pretty new and scary to me (they still are, to be honest). That was when everything fell into place; I saw the little pictures on the side of the carton, illustrating how to separate the plastic from the paper. As it turns out, you just pop the plastic out and throw it in the incombustible waste bin while the paper goes with milk and juice cartons. Easy!

Then there are those nifty Kikkoman soy milk cartons with their own little straw-like system. I just love assembling them!

Even some glass bottles have instructions in place for sorting the glass and plastic tops easily.

And, back to the mysterious milk (or juice) cartons: they are just really easy to open like this. No cutting and throwing the cut-off part into the trash, no trying to remove the plastic from the box. You simply pop it open and throw it away once you’re done (though I am still not a huge fan of having little pieces of paper in my juice. Maybe. I’ve never seen one. I might be making this up).

Anyway, figuring out why the drink cartons look the way they do makes me appreciate Japan a bit more – after confronting me with the horrors of sorting my trash correctly (which is a good thing, don’t get me wrong, it’s just scary!) Japan tries to make amends by making (some) packaging easy to disassemble.

Case closed.

The duck and me

P.S.: After this rather unexciting resolution of my first case, maybe it’s better if it stays the only one- or I could step up my game! Stay tuned for my next case: Who ate all my chocolate?
(Spoiler: it was probably me)

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