Monday, March 10, 2008

This is..... me cheating!

So really, I'm not the best participant in the This is... meme. First I gatecrash weeks late, then I missed the next week (I don't have an inspiration board and didn't do my homework for it as I went away for the weekend) and now... I cheat!

So This is.... looking IN my front door. To be totally honest, looking out my front door is so depressing. All there is, is a carpark, a narrow street and the wall of the house across the road. Before coming to Japan, many people have this image of it being a beautiful country, which it really is in parts. The problem is, for the most parts, the suburbs are ugly. There is no sense of design and as space is at such a premium, houses and apartments are built on tiny blocks, so often have no room for a garden. Oh how I miss trees and the sound of birds in the morning.

My back door wouldn't work either - we don't have one. I was baffled for days of what to do, until yesterday when my friend came over and did this lovely ikebana arrangement. I thought I'd show inside my front door. Sorry Brooke! It's a great theme and I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone else's view.

The first thing you may notice is that the front door opens outwards. This is a space saving design, architects don't have to allow an area for a door swing (most of the other doors in our apartment are paper sliding doors). What the swinging-out design doesn't allow for is safety. I had a salesman come to my apartment once, late at night and I couldn't get him to leave. I couldn't shut the door on him as he was between it and myself.

I think most people know that in Japan, you have to take your shoes of before you enter. What is difficult for most people to understand is how clearly defined the shoes-on and shoes-off area really is. The light area you can see on the floor is for shoes on. From there you step out of your shoes onto the darker area which in our apartment, is ever so slightly raised. You would never step on that light area without your shoes. It's funny how ingrained it's become to me now. When I have visitors come and stay and they step on the dark area with their shoes on, or outside with them off I cringe. I yelled at my dad once because he tried to walk in to take his shoes of sitting on the sofa, but didn't have the heart to tell him off later for going outside in his socks to sit on the stairs to put them on again.

The brown cupboard you can see is our shoe cupboard. As shoes are not allowed indoors, this is where they must live. Mine is full of more space saving items to make room for them all to fit, but as you see, my collection is starting to overflow. The big clodhoppers are my husband's of course.

So next week, I promise to try to stick to the rules!


Jenny said...

I bet you have kimonos and fabric in that shoe cupboard!!!!It is lovely lookin ginside your house and learning about another culture-I love the shoes off idea:)

Jacinta said...

That is really interesting. Other cultures can be so different, and yet as you said, you soon get into their ways. Beautiful Ikebana arrangement and a lovely welcome into your home.

s said...

Welcome to the "this is..." meme, and thank you for sharing your picture!

Sherrin said...

wow that's really interesting! and I love that flower arrangement... Happy Birthday! :o)

Bird Bath said...

Thanks for taking the time to improvise on the theme...I always find it fascinating to hear of other cultural details, especially the everyday.

Anonymous said...

Such an interesting post & photos! Not a cheat at all ;)

Maureen Reynolds said...

Thanks for giving us a glimpse of that culture. We do 'catch on' quickly if we want to have a comfort level in a culture we're not born to.

Opening outward...interesting.

CurlyPops said...

Oh dear, what do you do if you have smelly feet and you have to take your shoes off? I'd have to put some odour eaters in my runners!

Anonymous said...

this is a fascinating insight into a culture I know little about. thankyou for your interesting information.


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