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Latest 5/17/21 by Showtalk
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It sounds like a required “volunteer” community service position. Did you wife ever have to take a job?
Showtalk said...It sounds like a required “volunteer” community service position. Did you wife ever have to take a job?
Block Chief's job is to circulate things from the Subdivision Manager to all houses in your block. That happens about once a month. And then, only once a year are you really required to do any work. Every year, there is an area fee $60 per home per year (to pay to the firefighter's fees, the area President related fees and other fees) along with a subsection fee of $20 per home per year (to pay for garbage disposal, etc.). Thus once a year in April, the block chief goes around and collects $80 per home in their block and provides them with a receipt. Those funds are passed to the subsection Manager. the subsection Manager keeps $20 for the subsection to pay for garbage collection and other fees and the $60 is forwarded to the area President. That's about all the block Chief does.
Subsection Manager is in charge of receiving things from the Area President, making copies for everybody in the subsection and handing them to the block chiefs. They're also in charge of two events per year. One is towards the end of May and the other is in October. They involve getting the entire subsection involved in gathering together, passing out garbage bags, taking the 5 grass cutters out of the storage facility, filling them with gas and letting those who participate borrow those grass cutters to go around the entire neighborhood cutting back grass of vacant properties by about 1 meter (to make for better visibility), and in the process, garbage is often discovered in the high grass thus picking up that garbage and disposing of it is another task of those not cutting the grass. Likewise, there are some rain water drains in the subsection which occasionally get clogged with leaves and sometimes dirt that washes down into the drains. For this task, those who do not cut grass or pick up garbage bring their own shovels and scoop out the drains to allow for better drainage of rain water. All of this is done twice a year. And as mentioned above, the subsection manager also forwards the fees for firefighters, etc. to the area President as well. Subsection manager meets with area President 4 ~ 6 times a year and coordinates various things such as dates for the grass cutting, garbage collection and drainage cleaning such that all people in all of the subsections are all out on the same day.
As for the area President, the city provides each area President with about 15 or 20 tons of gravel twice a year corresponding with the grass cutting and garbage collection events. Each subsection Manager places in a request for people in their subsection for anywhere from 1 ~ 5 tons of gravel for each subsection. Some subsections have more gravel roads than others. So the area President determines which subsections get how much gravel each time. It's the subsection Manager's job to determine where to deliver that gravel in their subsection and it's up to the people in each subsection to spread the gravel out on the gravel roads that have pot holes in them.
The area President also has two very major and large events for the entire area. One is during the Obon festivities the first part of Aug. Obon is the time where all family members gather together similar to Thanksgiving in the US. But they gather to pay respects to the dead in their family. They have a big festival where close to 900 people attend for dancing, eating, drinking, fireworks and just enjoying the company of others they haven't seen in ages. The other big event is in November where roughly 600 people gather around for the Imo niikai or sweet potato festival where eating, drinking and playing various games occurs.
It's all community involved and everybody enjoys participating and being part of the community.
Edit to add: [My wife was block chief 3 times and I was subsection Manager 3 times.]
Fascinating! That would never happen here. Someone who could afford it would decide a fee must be paid and then fight everyone over how much to charge everyone. Someone else would volunteer to do the work so they didn’t have to pay and a few others would also volunteer while the rest do nothing. Some neighborhoods set up HOAs. We have Neighborhood Watch but half the homes never even sign up and again, a few volunteers do all the work. When a neighborhood is diverse in terms of speaking different languages, there tends to be some self segregation where people bond with those who primarily speak their language. In cities where housing is compact, there isn’t much open space to work about. In suburbs or less compacted cities, open space is either maintained by local government or by the property owners.
Showtalk said...Someone who could afford it would decide a fee must be paid and then fight everyone over how much to charge everyone. Someone else would volunteer to do the work so they didn’t have to pay and a few others would also volunteer while the rest do nothing.
Well, the fees have been set for the past 34 years.
If you don't pay the $60/yr. to the area manager, should your house catch fire, they will ensure the fire department allow it to do a slow controlled burn to the ground (rather than quickly douse it) while keeping nearby houses of those who paid watered down so the fire doesn't jump to them. I actually watched one of those slow burns about 3 blocks from where I live. I asked the fire fighters why they didn't do more to douse the flames more quickly and they said it was because that place didn't pay the fire fighting fees. And then he went on to say that, but it's actually a service to the person who lives there because if it's burned to the ground, it doesn't cost as much to get rid of the burned debris as if the first floor half burned were left standing with a hole thru the second floor to the roof where the flames burned through.
And if you don't pay the $20/yr. to the subsection manager, you cannot use the garbage disposal shed where everybody places their garbage in. So you would have to find some way/how to get rid of your garbage by yourself.
Only the elderly who have trouble walking and the disabled do not assist in volunteering, but usually at least one or more people from each home participates in the clean up.
Showtalk said...In suburbs or less compacted cities, open space is either maintained by local government or by the property owners.
In Japan, open space is also maintained by either the city or by property owners. But property owners are only required to cut the grass twice a year. Sometimes that grass grows pretty tall in 6 months so neighborhood volunteers just cut back about 1 meter away from the road for better visibility for cars on the road. The rest is then cut by the owner twice a year.
Diversity isn't really a problem in Japan. And usually those areas where foreigners live among the Japanese, they too tend to pitch in and volunteer because everybody does it and it's actually enjoyable when everybody participates.
When everybody finishes the clean up of neighborhood, the Subsection Manager has beer, Japanese tea, Juice, Cola and snacks set out for everybody to enjoy after doing a good job. The Japanese are a community oriented people. The US could learn a lot from them, but nobody really wants to as they would have to put their time in as well! So because of those snobs... we end up with a totally snobbish society! (* SAD FROWN *)
We pay directly to the waste companies to pick up garbage unless we have septic. Fire and other services are paid for by taxes, but ambulances send a bill.
Showtalk said...We pay directly to the waste companies to pick up garbage unless we have septic. Fire and other services are paid for by taxes, but ambulances send a bill.
This all goes back to my initial explanation that things should be taken care of at the lowest echelons.
The fire department is paid directly by our area President with monies coming from Subsection Managers who get their block chiefs to go around collecting the monies. No need to involve City Hall with unnecessary taxation to it's citizens and then pay the fire department when it can be handled at the Area level. (i.e. reduces what City Hall has to do.)
Garbage collection is paid by the Subsection Managers and also collected by the block chiefs when they collect the area fees.
So you give the block chief $80 once a year and they give you two receipts. One for the $20 to the Subsection Manager one for the remaining $60 to the area President.
Ambulances send the bill here in Japan too.