Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Won't Miss #33 - PET bottles, everywhere (reflection)

When I was still living in Tokyo, I never researched the reason why people put PET bottles full of water all over their property. This eyesore was to stop cats from doing things, especially peeing on the property. I was told that they were placed there for that reason by many of my students and acquaintances and never looked any deeper.

However, it has been suggested to me that there are other possibilities. One was that it was a way of storing emergency drinking water or water for strangers to drink when they walk by. While these would be reasonable theories, they are not in keeping with Japanese thinking. No Japanese person would touch a drop of water that had been stored outside of their home, particularly in an unsealed bottle that anyone could come by and contaminate. Most of the people I spoke to were too suspicious to eat a free sample given away on the street, even a sealed one. There was a great deal of squeamishness about safety.

Also, it was not likely that they'd put water out there because it allowed them to store their earthquake supplies. Even if they wanted to use if as washing, cleaning, or toilet flushing water, they wouldn't store it in public. It is simply not done that way in Japan. It's not even done that way in most areas of the U.S., particularly not in suburbs. The desire to put on a "nice" front could only, apparently, be overridden by the scourge that is stray cats. I finally did do some research, and these bottles were put there because of cats. A Japanese T.V. show tested the theory because the habit is so common

I don't miss seeing these bottles all over the place as I'm not a fan of people lining up trash in front of their homes in any country. 


  1. My grandmother's neighbor did the water thing. But they used gallon sized see through bottles. She said it was to ward off cats too. I call horse pucky on all that nonsense cause I saw cats in that woman's yard all the time.

  2. It's not unusual to put bottles out like that in Sydney, and for the same reason: cats.

  3. They tested a whole bunch of typical methods to repel cats on Mythbusters as well, including bottles of water. The cats were intrigued by the bottles at first, but not really repelled, and eventually they just ignored them.

  4. The theory way the cats saw their reflections in the bottles, and it scared them away. I remember the year this idea was presented on tv by some "expert" or other and it caught on. It slowly seems to be going away, only took about a decade.


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