Is this door for midgets?

Ok, the last one in this series. The final question was…..

Getting used to the size of things there in comparison to things in America.

This one is probably the most fun for me. Let’s go in one by one on this as there are quite a few things here and I know I’ll just run them together and this blog entry will be an eternal mess.

Doorways: My arch enemy. I’m a big guy. Not overly tall for America, I’m 6’1, but in this country I’m a giant. I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve smacked my noggin into a door frame. Actually, if you need an actual number for that then I’ll let you count the divots and lumps in my skull. Doorways are unreal here. The average height for a Japanese male is currently around 175cm, give or take. and in my opinion a lot of doorways here reflect that. I’m surprised I’ve never done any real damage. I’ve learned over the past 20 years to just duck when going through a door. Funny thing is that even if I go through a normal sized door I still duck. People must think I’m a moron.

Bathrooms: Mmmm, not a fan favorite here. Bathrooms in this country are tiny. One thing I should get out of the way first, just so you know, the bath/shower, sink, mirror part of the bathroom is separated from the toilet. The toilet has it’s own little room to itself. And when I say little I mean so tiny you almost don’t have enough room to comfortably do your business. In the toilet room in my home, if I close the door, my right leg rests against the wall and my left leg rests against the door. And my knees just barely miss rubbing against the wall in front of me, but thank God for that 8 foot ceiling. I don’t know about you, but to me, the act of “dropping the kids off at the pool” is almost a holy experience. I like to kick back in there and read a magazine or something. Oh, I forgot to mention that the toilet room is just off the entrance way. I mean let’s be real. If someone is going to “release a hostage” you want that odor wafting through the entrance area of your home so when visitors drop by they can catch a whiff too. I’ll never understand that. And the shower room is right next to it, because you want to be able to get out of the shower and be stuck in there if someone comes into the home. PUT THE BATHROOMS IN THE BACK OF THE HOUSE!!! And make the toilet room bigger. I need space for a magazine rack.

Rooms in general: I gotta hand it to the Japanese. They have come up with a system for rooms that works like a charm. I would say 99.9% of the rooms in a home or apartment here are measured in tatami. Tatami are those straw mats on the floor. I’ve heard people say “You have a straw floor?!?” well, this isn’t a barn and we aren’t horses. It’s not like there’s a dirt floor covered in hay. Tatami (click here) are really nice mats made out of straw. That pic you just clicked on was of a 6 tatami room. That is your standard room. I would say there are more 6 tatami rooms than other sizes. But, with that said, it basically breaks down like this 4.5, 6, 8, and 10. A 10 tatami room would be pretty big…….not big like you’re used to in western countries. Now, there are bigger rooms, like a 13 tatami kitchen/dining, so the other sizes aren’t all there are, but they are the most common. You will not go into a Japanese home and not find a 6 tatami room. I don’t think that kind of home exists. Now, that sounds pretty boring, but it is extremely convenient. If you need to buy carpet, all you have to do is tell them your room size. No need to take measurements unless you have a weird wall jutting out someplace. Now, not all floors are covered in tatami, I should have said that earlier, but the room sizes are built with the tatami size in mind. Our bedroom is 8 tatami. We have an American queen sized bed, imported from America no less, that fills up the entire room. There isn’t enough space for a table on either side, a dresser, etc… We have our bed, one side table and a TV stand. That’s it……That’s all that will fit. And the room isn’t big enough to move the bed around to another spot. It’s in the only position it will fit. But hey, we only sleep in there so there really isn’t a need for all that extra stuff.

Apartments: I hear so many of my American  friends, living in America, say something like “I live in a tiny little 2 bedroom apartment. HA!! You have no idea what a tiny apartment is. The apartment I lived in before I got married would have fit in your living room. Take a loot at the following pic…

mansion

So, you’re looking at that and thinking “Where’s the rest of it?” Well, that is the rest of it. There is no more, except the toilet and shower, and you have to be a circus freak to work your way around inside of them. I’m dead serious, that is it. One 6 tatami room, a 2 burner stove, a fridge that barely reaches your waist, and a loft. Enjoy having friends over. If you fart in that room you stink up the entire apartment. So, for you guys back home whining about a small apartment, get over it already. You have more than enough room to survive. Let me also add that this photo above isn’t a really super small apartment for this country. I’ve seen smaller.

Cars: For the most part cars are average size, but there are some really tiny cars over here too. I’m talking a car with a 660cc engine. If you don’t know what 660cc’s is let me try to put an image in your mind. Take one of your child’s Hot Wheels and pull it back against a rubber band and let it go. That’s about as close as I can get. The funny thing is that nowadays car companies are trying to make these little 660 cars with more room inside. It’s actually kind of entertaining. Yes, there are cars over here that I can’t get into. I can’t drive my wife’s car. She’s got a little 660 thing that’s built like a Jeep. I literally can not sit behind the steering wheel of that car. Here’s a pic, notice it’s parked next to a regular sized van.

Is that a real car?

Alright. I guess I’ll leave you with that. This post is getting longer than I intended. I believe partial success of a blog is to not get too long winded. People will only sit reading something for so long before they get bored so I’ll cut her off here.

Y’all come back, I’ll leave the light on for ya,

MULLY

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About MULLY

ex-pat American living in Japan since 1991. Love to play guitar and billiards. Love my Cincinnati Bengals too. Who-Dey!!
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7 Responses to Is this door for midgets?

  1. Mary Carnes Nitschke says:

    Jim,
    I just wanted to say, thank you for sharing your stories about Japan, I love reading them, its useful information for me if I ever travel there. Thanks again

  2. Bonnie says:

    The Japanese, and the Chinese, have some amazing uses of space in home design. I have a 650 sq ft condo loft with 12 foot ceilings and it’s just wasted vertical space. I WISH I could afford to have it redone like your old place, with a bed in part of the loft space. I could get 2 or 3 more rooms out of here in a vertical design.

    What is the significance of the WARMOTH STRAT title of your blog site?

    • Get yourself a Japanese style futon, which is actually just a mat on the floor, and you can turn that left into your bedroom. The Japanese futon are actually really comfortable too, if you stack 2 or 3 on top of each other. Good to see you here, Bonnie. As for the significance of Warmoth Strat, I guess that will make a good blog entry. :+)

      • Bonnie says:

        It’s not a real loft. It’s ‘loft style’ which means there is a short wall between the great room and the bedroom. There is exposed duct work and pipes hanging from the ceiling so even if I had the money to convert, I couldn’t.

        If the pipes and duct work weren’t there, it would be awesome to put a platform there and make an actual loft with a bed. It would look wicked. 🙂

  3. Eli-Jean says:

    Brilliantly written with a good sense of humour. It’s a shame you cut off where you did, could have pages and pages more 🙂

  4. Pingback: 2010 in review | Warmoth_Strat

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