“We Japanese love nature, and we also love nature when it’s been tweaked,” says Hirotaka Suzu as he points to the trash impregnated hedge in his local park. “Of course, one man’s tweaking can be another man’s total and complete conquering.”
It’s customary for Suzu’s wife to kick him out of the house immediately after breakfast and tell him not to come home until sunset. On rainy days he hangs out of the local library or the waiting room on the local station platform. On the odd occasion, he can also be found occupying one of those “rest corners” of the supermarket for a few hours at a time. A fine day, however, will see him voluntarily patrolling local parks on his rusty bicycle.
“This hedge will be my legacy when I go. What’s wrong with curating it in my own inimitable style?” ponders Suzu. “Occasionally I’ll kill two birds with one stone and urinate into the hedge while I shove a wrapper in. We charming old folk like to do that sometimes. Japanese workers have a reputation for working long unproductive hours, but when the situation demands we can use time really effectively.”
Although rainy days bring a cleansing rinse and respite for the hedge while the old man takes refuge from the elements, one disgusted local resident has attempted to help the hedge even further by excessively spraying it with kitchen disinfectant. “I use this stuff all the time,” she explained. “I have complete faith in it ridding this poor hedge of vile bacteria from all these old wrappers as I use it throughout my house twice a day, every single day of the year.”
Muneyoshi Kasabura, a botanist working to highlight the scourge of plastic wrappers in nature, announced that the hedge was now more plastic than natural. “One hundred onigiri wrappers may not sound like much to a casual observer, but you have to consider that a hedge is not a solid block. There was a lot of space between the branches and leaves to begin with. Therefore, it doesn’t take that much to turn it into a vassal for something artificial, kind of like how a Christmas Tree can easily look overwhelmed by globes, tinsel, and stars.
“A hedge is not always a tight bundle of branches and leaves like we might imagine,” explained Kasabura as he recorded each and every wrapper sighting using the old-fashioned pen and clipboard combination. “Some hedges have seen better days, but they are now sparse, full of botanic inertia, and lacking in woody content, much like an old man’s underpants.”
Suzu explains that he is not an inconsiderate old man, but rather a retiree in search of a purpose. “I’m not responsible enough to monitor the garbage collection point, and unlike many fossils I’m not a fan of the Keirin cycle racing. After an unsavoury and unhygienic incident that I caused, I’m also banned from the local stand-up bar, so becoming the neighbourhood lurker was the only practical option left open to me.
“My wife’s terse attitude only strengthened my resolve to carry out this duty (of disposing plastic wrappers into hedges) properly, because I have to be out of the house all day. What can I say? I do my bit to play an active role in the community. I creepily stare at schoolgirls, befoul nature, and spit loogies on the sidewalk. As you can see, I’m performing to a point where I’m possibly exceeding expectations.”