Danshari: decluttering, cleaning out the past accumulation, detach


Today is not a typical day. I can feel it. In the usually calm atmosphere is an air of annoyance and urgency. Something is changing, and I sense things will not be the same when everything is over. An army of large trash bags are lined up against the wall next to the door. Is it… Is it… danshari? Where did all these things come from? What’s in them, and where are they going? You better not be thinking about adding me to that pile, I grumble to myself.

I hear sounds in the next room and catch pieces of conversation amid rustling and tossing. The words sound as if they’re in agreement, but there’s a finality. More bags come out, groaning at the seams as they are plopped down with the rest. The girl turns around. Her eyes dart back and forth between me and my four brothers and sisters. In a split second she’s made a decision. Her warm hands grab me off my ledge to scrutinize. She looks at me closely then puts me back. Safe.

Indescribable relief pours over me.

For a minute she is gone but is soon back with a new empty bag. She pulls me from my safety again and shoves me into the bag. Tying the top around me curved neck, I realize this is it. She’s throwing me away. We go outside and walk down the street. It’s sunny. I don’t usually come outside when it’s sunny. It’s a new sensation, yet I can’t enjoy it. Usually she holds me high, and I stand proud over her head. Jostling against my brethren as we cross streets, water beading. But not anymore.

She drops me onto the concrete and turns away without a second thought. Here I am with the other rejects. Other household items who were once useful, possibly even loved at one time. Now we sit in solemn silence. Together, but completely alone. Our time has indeed come. A broken toaster oven. Drinking glasses with chips and cracks in them. A CD player that probably still works but whose owner has finally moved on. And me.

Is it because of my broken spoke? You can fix that. Or the minuscule leak on top? It’s not a big deal if it’s only drizzling. What if you have visitors, and they need me to keep the rain off them? You’ll regret this someday. My shock turns to denial then resentment and finally to sorrow. Who am I arguing with? I’m fighting a losing battle. I’ve lost. I’ve become the victim of danshari. Basking in my first warm sun, I wait for the truck to come and take me to my fate. There was a time I had a purpose, but not anymore. I’ll carry those memories with me until the end.

More Japanese words: Bonenkai, Nabe, Ukon

This is Japan is a regular blog series on Stewie Overseas. I might write something about Japanese culture, a story about living in Japan, something random and funny/weird, or something about my blog. It is a place where I can get a bit more personal with the things I share with my readers.



  1. Very intense emotion here! I love when a writer can make their audience feel for an inanimate object.

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