Archives for the day Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Houses in Japan

 Here in the states, you can find single family houses, single family houses with basement, town houses, apartments etc.

 In Japan, you can find single family houses, apartment but I have never seen town houses like the ones you see in the states. Often times,single family houses are made with either wood or concrete and you will find both traditional Japanese style houses and western style houses. With traditional style Japanese single family houses, entrance door is usually sliding door while western style single family houses are with western style doors.

 When you stand in front of Japanese single family houses, and look up, you can see the ceramic tile roof. Designs are different, and ceramic tile shapes are different from one to the other.These ceramic tiles are called “kawara” in Japanese. Japanese castles roof,Japanese temple roofs are also with ceramic tile roof and when we go back to Japan,and when we go somewhere, my husband tends to take roof pictures of many kinds of buildings including castles and temples. Bellows are some of ceramic tile roof pictures.

Ceramic tile roof tip of temple..

Ceramic tile roof tip of temple..

Himeji Castle from outside..

Outside view from Himeji castle..

** You can see a little bit of regular buildings in the picture

 With apartments, you can find public apartments for individuals and the private apartments that is kept for  companies’ employees, and it is called “Shataku”. Usually, Shataku is much cheaper to rent and located very close to the company you are working for.

 Difference between rooms in traditional Japanese houses and American houses is that traditional Japanese houses have rooms with tatami flooring.

 What is tatami?

  Tatami is traditional Japanese flooring and made of rice straws, and usually each tatami mat is rectangular shape, and it has cloth border all around the edge. If you see a picture of tatami mat at wikipedia website here ,you will notice that not all tatami mats are placed the same way.Generally, when you talk about room size here in the states, you will expect to hear the word “xx square foot”, but in Japan, room with tatami mat floor is measured according to how many tatami mats are there.

 You can read more on tatami mat or see how tatami mat is made in previous entry titled “Ryotei restaurants in Japan ” .

 Our family’s house in Japan is now western style looking, but it still has tatami mat rooms to relax. Some of the rooms such as kitchen is wood floor, and they do not have rooms with carpet.

 And, when you visit houses in Japan, you are supposed to take off your shoes at the entrance and wear slippers inside the house. Often times, in the entrance, you will see shoe cabinet and shoes are kept inside the cabinet.The shoe cabinet is called “Geta bako” in Japanese.

 When your kids go to school; elementary schools,junior high schools,and to high schools, every morning, when they come to school building entrance, first thing to do is to take off their shoes and change to school slippers. Each student is provided with their own place to put the shoes.

 When students have P.E. classes inside the buildings, students have shoes to wear specifically for the P.E. class buildings.

 At University, you are no longer supposed to take off your shoes to slippers and walk around the buildings.

 One another thing that I found it different from Japanese housing and American housings is that, in Japan, just around mail box, your family name plate is placed. We call it “Hyo satsu” in Japanese. Here in the states, you do not see family name plate around mail box area but numbers. 

 If you visit Japan,try stroll around neighborhood and you may find something that interests you. You get to see all kinds of differences between Japanese houses and American houses. But first thing you would be surprised is how narrow the Japanese roads are, and how crowded Japan is.

 By the way, I do not think Japanese houses have basement. I thought it was very cool  to have basement when I visited my friends in the states. We played ping pong, and watch TV with 2 lovely Golden Retrievers…

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Oct 12, 2010 | 0 | Uncategorized