Not My Japanese House: Part 2

It's taken some time but I'm beginning to understand and respect the Japanese design aesthetic. What's surprised me most is how elusive modern design is where I live. So, as with most things, I resort to the online search.

I'll refrain from snark about odd Japanese architectural details, props, and styling. This time.

Let me just say this residence too has almost nothing in common with my Japanese house. Residential neighborhoods in Japan tend to have blocky, suburban houses with run-down garden sheds, no lawns, garages or fences, and little or no outdoor space between buildings. Not host country bashing here, just telling it like it is.

Yes I realize I'm one lucky bitch to get to live over here but most Japanese architecture and interiors are straight up uninspired, borderline trashy, and they usually depress me. Which is why I'm determined to find the goods.

Speaking of goods, no Japanese home is complete without tatami. It's used in guest and living spaces, sometimes with nothing but a low dining table and seat cushions. Or it's found in bedrooms where you're expected to roll out a thin futon every night and put it away in the morning. (Fuck that, I bought a bed.)

Architectural magazines and blogs spotlighting Japanese design often feature homes with ample plywood ...

But I have yet to see anything like this.

Stairs in Japanese homes are frighteningly steep with tread depth meant for people with very small feet. In other words, they're a trip hazard for clumsy westerners. Particularly Americans.

Don't get me started on overhead fluorescent lighting – in Japan they fucking love it. (Same goes for China come to think of it.) But they have lovely skin tones, unlike me. Oh no, I look all pasty and sick if I get anywhere near a fluorescent bulb.

Homes in Japan will almost always have doors of varying heights. I haven't figured out the logic behind this yet. My 6-foot husband has to duck through 7 of 12 doors in our house. Our house was built in the 1980s or 90s, and Japanese people aren't necessarily as short as they may have once been. I don't get why they haven't increased the standard door size yet. I'm guessing there must be a reason.

Here's a great example of the typical Japanese building envelope – almost completely maxed. And believe it or not I guarantee the residents will not be adding nice patio furniture here. Though Japanese gardens are often small works of perfection, I was surprised homes almost never have outdoor seating areas of any kind. No fences means no privacy. The times we sit outside people walking by look at us quizzically, as if we're locked out of our house. Needless to say, we don't sit out much.

Overall a nice, bright design that maximizes its urban space in creative ways. To me the floor plan is interesting but not ideal. This is not my country, so there is no reason I should expect it to.

Architecture and design by Rythmdesign | Found via Ignant

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