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25-year-old keeps walking and cleaning others’ trash

Date Posted: 2003-12-06

A doll maker turned nature activist is cleaning up after others.
The 25-year-old Riki Otsuki was born in Kobe. He is currently living in Nago, and for the past two months has traveled from Hokkaido to Okinawa on foot, picking up people’s trash from public parks and roadsides where ever he goes.
Otsuki says that he walks between 30~ 60 kilometers a day; a total of more than 2,000 km so far. On his back he carries a large glove-shaped container he designed and made himself, into which he collects empty cans, discarded lunch boxes and any trash he encounters. When it becomes full, he empties the trash at convenience stores or other public trash collection locations.
Otsuki has very simple philosophy. “If each person picks up litter from two people where ever he sees it, soon we all have a very clean and nice place to live,” he says.
Otsuki says that he came upon the idea of his private crusade while working on making his wooden dolls. “I always tried to make a perfect doll, and when I was not satisfied with what I had created I discarded the doll. Soon I had a mountain of discarded dolls at my side, and I realized it was nothing but trash,” he explains. “I then began thinking what is the most perfect and beautiful; that’s the earth and nature of course.”
After deciding that doll making was not for him, he moved his home from Kobe to Nago, because “nature and ocean in Okinawa is the most beautiful and perfect on the earth.” He says that the only imperfection is the trash that people discard, and that he has set his goal in the life to make sure that he does his part to keep the nature spotless.
“It is the same everywhere from Hokkaido to Okinawa. I don’t know how to get people to stop littering the streets and parks, but at least I can pick up that trash and take it to the recycling center or trash collection place,” Otsuki says.
For the future, his plans are to “… keep walking and picking up some more trash. And the way things look, I will walk for a long time,” Otasuki smiles.

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