Somewhere in Japan

Dispatch № 102: You’re Doing Me a Favor

Now on their way to an acquaintance in Tokyo: a fountain pen and three bottles of ink, all packed carefully into a well-padded box. On top, a red shipping label used when sending a package chakubarai. When you do, the recipient pays the postage upon receipt. This extremely convenient service, provided by Japan Post, is instrumental in one part of my current efforts to downsize: giving things away.

While I don’t actually have a crazy number of possessions, and in fact have much less now than I had back in the USA, it’s still more than I want. Japanese apartments tend to be small, and mine is no exception. The cozy quarters are very livable, but they’re also very good at making it clear when you have accumulated more things than is ideal.

Some things, like stacks of old notes, will be examined, transcribed in part, then be recycled. Old clothing will be donated or discarded, depending on its condition. A handful of higher-value items will be sold. But there’s a large category of possessions that are neither worth the trouble of trying to sell nor of such little value that I’m comfortable with just throwing them away.

For these, the goal is to give away as many of them as possible. They still have enough value and functionality to be worth sending on to a new home.

Already, I’ve given away a half dozen old film cameras, a flash, a tripod head, two avocado trees, a couple old messenger bags, the fountain pen and ink, and a small variety of other things.

When giving certain items away, some people have wanted to pay at least a little something, especially for items with some market value intact. I would prefer nothing, though. And not because I’m trying to be generous or anything like that. No, my reason is actually selfish: it’s because I feel like, by taking these things off my hands, they’re the ones doing me a favor. And who charges for that?

Downsizing is good for me. I don’t need, for example, eleven different fountain pen inks. Six or seven of them, inks that I don’t especially like and rarely use, constitute physical noise in my home environment that contributes nothing of value. Sure, I could just pour them down the drain and recycle the bottles, resolving the matter in under a minute, but that would be a waste of something that someone else could derive plenty of enjoyment from. They deserve new homes.

Giving things away feels good. It’s a win-win, as I see it, and we could use more situations in life where everyone benefits. Especially now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Picture of David R Munson

David R Munson

Photographer, essayist, wanderer, weirdo. Everything is interesting if you give it an honest chance to be.

More about David