Plastic Bags Image

Plastic Bags

Apr 11, 2017Canadian, Environment, Female, Japanese

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Do you bring your own reusable bag when you go grocery shopping?


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Yamashita Haruka: When I was, when I read this article, uh it actually recalls uh it actually recalls me uh, nan da keHaruka used to often mix some Japanese with her English. Mixing languages should be avoided. Nan da ke means “What was that?” (0:10)

José Cruz: Ah, “it makes me think”?

Haruka: Ah! So so soJapanese meaning “Yes yes yes” (0:12). Yeah yeah. Yes. It makes me think, it makes me recall the the new system of the Japanese new system of uh, what do you say, “eco-bag” (Oh so uh) at the supermarket.

José: Kk- Bringing your own bags to the supermarket.

Haruka: Yes. We call it “eco-bag”

José: Yeah. In English we would say “bringing your own bags to the supermarket”.

Haruka: Just a really really straight…

José: Ah you know that’s that’s kind of the one difference um that I think is is particular about Japanese but let’s talk about that later. So yeah (Uh huh, OK) the whole idea of bringing your own bags to the supermarket.

Haruka: Mm-hmm yeah and at the very last of this article it actually sayHaruka should have said “says” (0:51) uh kind of the same thing about the likeNative speakers are usually encouraged to eliminate filler words from their speaking, but Haruka uses this filler word well to help her maintain her fluency (0:55), bringing the bags, like. (Mm-hmm) This part yes. (Right. The the) like “carrying her lunch” or…

José: The (something like that) last paragraph.

Haruka: Yeah. Like, when? Maybe from.. when? I’m… Maybe from my high school days. (Mm-hmm. That’s right) Yeah the the situ- Japanese system was changed. And like when I want to use the plastic bag, (Right) when I need a plastic bag at supermarket I have to pay some extra money like (Right) just a really little bit. But, (Yeah yeah) yeah, like four yen or (Right) just like that.

José: At my local supermarket it’s four yen. (Oh really?) and it was specifically four yen (Mm-hmm) so that when you put the tax on the four yen it would become five yen. (I see.) At- that bag probably costs only one yen.

Haruka: Yeah maybe less than.

José: But they decided to make it five. And I find it interesting that uh- I’ve been living in the same neighbourhood now for a long time (Uh-huh) and I remember when I first started bringing my own bag to the supermarket. (Uh-huh) And when I first started bringing my own bag, the people at the register (Uh-huh) Uh, their habit was they didn’t even ask they just automatically gave you a bag.

Haruka: Yeah yeah yeah. They just add it (Right right) maybe two bags. Two plastic bags, like…

José: Exactly. And I would tell them, oh no wait I don’t want that. I brought my own bag. And they would say, “Oh OK. Well that’s nice” They were surprised. Then maybe about three years after that, I noticed at the register you could get these little cardboard signs (Yes) that you could put in your basket that said, “I don’t need a bag” (Yes exactly) So I thoughtJosé says this very quickly (2:37) Oh OK, so your awareness is starting to rise a lot more…

Haruka: Yeah that’s a really clever system.

José: A lot more people were noticing or a lot more people were using…

Haruka: And started to use eco-bag.

José: Right. And then I noticed what changed was around the time that um, they started charging money for bags that card changed from “I don’t want a bag” (Yeah) to, “I WANT a bag” (Uh-huh. Oh really) So you put that in your cart If you wanted to say that you wanted a (Wow) plastic bag. Everything changed over about ten years. (Uh-huh) And now you have to buy them.

Haruka: In these ten years it- everything changed a lot.

José: Which I think is really good.

Haruka: Dramatically it was. Yeah.

José: Los Angeles though, (Uh-huh) um. I forget now’ if it was in this article. Um (What?) California, the state of California in America, has completelyThis is not actually true. The new laws prohibits only giving away plastic bags for free. Plastic bags are still available but stores must charge users a fee (3:23) banned plastic bags (Banned?) You cannot use them anymore. You cannot use them you cannot buy them you cannot ask for them. You cannot buy them (Really?) No, no more plastic (In California?) Yup. No more plastic bags for convenience stores and department stores. (Eh. So) You can still buy plastic bags for garbage and for special uses. (Uh huh uh-huh) But you can’t buy you know the kind with the (the usual one) handles.

Haruka: What? Really. From when? Like really recently?

José: I think from last year. (Oh really) I don’t remember the specifics but I think from last year.

Haruka: Wow I was so surprised about it, becausepronounced “KUZ” (3:56) you know the last state when I was- when I stayed in the United States was California, (Right) the state of California. And when I was in the California I used a lot of plastic bags, like at a supermarket or at convenience store, at- almost everywhere.


Besides recycling what are other ways to deal with plastic bags?

How many bottled drinks do you buy everyday?

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Yamashita Haruka image

Yamashita Haruka


Oita City, Oita

José Domingo Cruz image

José Domingo Cruz


Vancouver, British Columbia


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1 Comment

  1. I think that most Japanese don’t think a problem caused by plastic bags. Several animals and fishes are damaged by plastic bags. For example, sea turtles died by eating plastic bags, and fishes can not breath with their gills caught by plastic bags. And plastic bags harm our health. Plastic crashed smaller and smaller by the wave in the sea are called “micro plastic”. Fishes or animals eat it and save in their body. Eating them saving micro plastic is not good for our health. Especially, it is poisonous for children. When things comes to the worst, children will die.
    In Japan, some people using “eco-bag”, but the number of them is smaller than others. We should know the problem caused by plastic bags and change our life style. At first, Japanese uses too many packaging materials in shopping. If we use “eco-bags”, the problem would not be solved quickly. So we have to reduce packaging and get used to less packaging.
    I think that problems caused by human will harm human. We should think them and solve. Not to say, they harm other life on Earth. We can not live without them. So solving the problems help our life.


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