Inside the Home

a futon
This is a futon. This is what most Japanese sleep on. The picture was taken in the winter, so you also have the top portion on it. Futons are very comfortable to sleep on. All rooms in a traditional Japanese apartment (except for the kitchen) have floors made of woven straw mats called tatami. It is like sleeping on a very firm mattress.

a futon in the closet
This is my futon rolled up and put away in the closet. Japanese apartments are very small. The place where you slept on your futon last night is needed during the day as the place where you sit and watch tv, etc.

a kerosene heater This is a kerosene heater. Homes do not have central heating. The Japanese language technically has a phrase for it, but it was always difficult to explain what central heating was to a Japanese person.

table with a heat bulb
This is another way of keeping warm in the winter. Under the table is a circular tube shaped bulb that gives off heat. There is a grill around it to protect you from getting burned by touching it. It actually is quite warm.

a japanese style toilet This is a Japanese style toilet. You do not sit on it, you squat over it. On top of the tank is a basin with a hole in it. The water that refills the tank after flushing first comes out the faucet into this basin. This is the water you use to wash your hands with. Note that there is no towel to dry your hands. In Japan, everyone carries around a handkerchief to dry their hands. Do not use it to blow your nose with - use a kleenex! Also note that today, some well-to-do apartments have a very expensive version of a western toilet that even has a heated toilet seat.

This is a bathtub. It's always in a different room than the toilet. You sit on a little stool and wash yourself before you get in the water. No soap or dirty bodies in the bath water! After your body is clean, you sit in the very hot water and just relax. A bath is a very important part of the Japanese culture. a bathtub

a heater for the bath water

This was my heater to heat my bath water. Japan does not use hot water tanks. I think it is because of the amount of space a hot water tank would take up. These heaters are similar to how we heat the water in a hot tub in the west.

a washing machine
This was my washing machine. No dryers - everyone hangs up their clothes to dry. The left portion performed the washing cycle. The right container was the spinner. Today, I hear that the upper middle class uses a more modern style washer.

a kitchen
This is a kitchen. Japanese do not use ovens. Remember your chemistry lab and that natural gas nozzle you hooked your bunsen burner hose up to? Well, That's how you hook up your (stove top) burners in Japan. The hot water heater is that white thing on the wall. It has what looks like a radiator inside of it that heats the water as it flows thru it. It heats it very fast, but makes a noise like steam radiators do in old houses here.

a mouse trap
This is a japanese style mouse trap. When I would tell my japanese friends that the traps in North America kill the mice, they would be surprised.

Japanese money
This is the japanese currency that was in circulation when I lived in Japan. Back in the 80's, they eliminated the 500 yen paper note and changed it to a coin. They also changed the pictures on the other notes. Also note that the bigger the value of the bill, the bigger it is physically.

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