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How small are Japanese houses?
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PJW
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Jun 21, 2002, 09:02 PM
 
I'm really curious. Do they live in closets? I'm asking because I keep hearing about how they prefer smaller, slimmer products to big ones because of space constraints in their houses. Now, to me, a product like the eMac and Xbox are big, but not too big. Then again, I'm just looking through a pair of American eyes.

If someone has any pictures, please post. You can help to inform an ignorant American!
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wataru
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Jun 21, 2002, 10:15 PM
 
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">Originally posted by PJW:
<strong>I'm really curious. Do they live in closets? I'm asking because I keep hearing about how they prefer smaller, slimmer products to big ones because of space constraints in their houses. Now, to me, a product like the eMac and Xbox are big, but not too big. Then again, I'm just looking through a pair of American eyes.

If someone has any pictures, please post. You can help to inform an ignorant American! </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">It depends, really. The smallest living quarters I've seen was basically the equivalent of a dormitory room with its own bathroom. The largest I saw in Tokyo was still not as big as many American houses... It was two stories, about 4 rooms per floor. That family was fairly rich, and the area was well-to-do, so I imagine it doesn't get much bigger than that within the city.

In the boonies, though, they get about as big as houses in well-to-do areas in the US. Usually they're not as tall, though (two stories, no basement).

Overall, living quarters in Japan are much more cramped than in the US, but I still consider it comfortable. You could call it "cozy."
     
undotwa
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Jun 21, 2002, 11:50 PM
 
Well in Tokyo, almost everybody lives in an apartment of some sort. I actually heard, that the only 'house' is the emporer's. Out of the cities, I don't think it gets to those kinds of extremes. Everyone probably has a house in countryside.

So I guess this really justifies for their need of small gadgets and electronics.
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V
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Jun 22, 2002, 12:16 AM
 
Don't forget japan is a small island, space for houses is limited if you want to keep some flora and wildlife. If you consider that all the family lives together (granddad, grandmother often live with their son or daughter and grandchilds) it makes a lot of people.
     
Millennium
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Jun 22, 2002, 12:17 AM
 
Houses? It seems to depend on where you live.

In the more cosmopolitan areas of the cities (particularly Tokyo), you can forget it. Land is incredibly expensive in Japan, particularly in the cities, because it is so densely packed. This isn't a recent phenomenon either; it's been that way for quite a long time. But with nowhere to build houses, there can't be any.

Out in rural areas, it's much easier, and you'll find more houses there. In suburban areas you'll find houses, but even these tend to be small by US standards, because even though land isn't quite as expensive as it is in the cities, it still isn't cheap.

I think this is why a lot of anime set in modern-day Japan -particularly shoujo anime, but some shounen as well- seems to take place in suburbs, particularly suburbs of Tokyo. You can do funky architectural stuff with characters' houses that you can't really do with apartments. But at the same time, Tokyo's mass-transit system allows the characters easy access to the city, allowing you to do scenes there too. There are exceptions to this rule of course; Maison Ikkoku springs immediately to mind (it centered around a small apartment building and its tenants). Love Hina, while not suburban (it's more rural), also shows off what you can do with apartment buildings. But in anime like these, the building also served as a focus for the whole show; it was more than just a place to put the characters. If you're just trying to figure out where characters live, and they don't all live in the same place, apartments don't work as well.

By the way, you may have heard of an interesting phenomenon in Tokyo where some workers literally sleep in large racks of sleeping tubes. There's some truth to this, but it's not the only home the workers have. Typically, in cases like this, the person's main home is out in the country, some distance from the city. So, he commutes in at the start of the week, spends the work week in Tokyo by using the tube, and then commutes out at the end of the week. Cuts travel time like you wouldn't believe, but I wouldn't want to do it myself. But hey, some people just plain love Tokyo that much. Among workers who use the tubes, it's common to be saving up money to move into Tokyo, a which can take years.

And before anyone asks how the heck I know this, I have a good friend working in Tokyo at the moment. She's there on a one-year exchange program, teaching English to businessmen, but loves it there so much that she might try and stay after her year is up. She's apparently making boatloads of cash (Japan's median income, in terms of raw numbers, is actually higher than that of the US, but the prices on most things there are higher to the point where average actual buying power is lower), and might be able to move into Tokyo in ten years. She actually intends to do this.

But no, she doesn't use the sleeping tubes.
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RAzaRazor
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Jun 22, 2002, 12:20 AM
 
Funny you should ask...

Here's one actual size!
<img src="http://www.dollsite.com/dolls/barbiedream.jpg" alt=" - " />
     
curmi
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Jun 22, 2002, 01:20 AM
 
Being married to a Japanese girl, I've been back and forth between Australia and Japan about 6 times - usually for about 4 weeks each time. We visit relatives and friends in different parts, but mainly hang around Tokyo.

I'm not a very tall guy (around 178cm I think), but everything in Japan is small. Traveling on trains is weird as the chairs seem to be much lower than in Australia, and some train stations have ceilings that are so low I have to hunch to avoid hitting my head. Houses tend to be smaller, or people live in apartments (which are generally very small). Stairs in houses (many are double story) are so narrow that I've actually fallen backwards while trying to walk upstairs in a bit of a hurry.

I've also found that Japanese families tend to collect an awful lot of junk, and pile it up all over the house (don't seem to have many inbuilt cupboards). This might be a suburban thing, but it makes the houses seem even smaller.

Still, I love Japan. But when I get back to Australia I feel a lot more relaxed.
     
Xtopolop
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Jun 22, 2002, 01:44 AM
 
I spent a couple weeks in Japan with some family friends of ours two summers ago. The house I stayed in was fairly large. It was four stories tall, with five or six good-sized rooms per floor and had a two car garage as well. The room I stayed in was actually really big, probably close to 20' x 30' and it was one of the daughters' rooms (i.e. not the largest in the house). I also got a chance to visit their cottage, which was two stories, with three bedrooms and two full bathrooms. I know this is not representative of the rest of Japan, but just pointing out that there are large houses there . BTW, this was in Kobe (KOBE BEEF!! WOO!! ). Floor space is very valuable in Japanese houses, so the smaller the footprint, the better. For example, almost all the washer/drier units I saw in department stores were stacked one on top of the other.

[Edit]: oh yea... everything seemed vertical. When I returned home, my house seemed VERY spread out.

<small>[ 06-22-2002, 01:46 AM: Message edited by: Xtopolop ]</small>
     
   
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