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Scenes from the neighborhood – Part 1

nishiwaseda neighborhood typical japanese house futon hang airing

We’ve been in Japan for two months now. I remember on those first couple of days thinking that I should immediately take lots of pictures of interesting things in our neighborhood as they would soon become so common in my head that I would forget how curious they are to someone not living here. For whatever reason, I didn’t take those photos and now I can’t remember what those things were. As I originally thought, my immediate surroundings have become too familiar and are no longer strange.

On my walk to Waseda University I pass the above home. It is just around the corner from our apartment. While you may think that Tokyo is all high-rise apartment buildings, there are actually many neighborhoods with few such buildings. Ours is one of them.

The lady who lives in the above home is frequently out watering her plants or chatting with her neighbors. On this morning she is airing her futons, which is a common sight when the weather is nice.

award winning flowers tokyo house japan

A close up of some of her plants and flowers revels that Mrs. Uchida has won an award. If you can read Japanese click on the above photo to see her award for flowers and greenery.

home in tokyo japan lantern

When a matsuri is going to happen in the neighborhood these lanterns and gohei line the streets.

The streets of Japan, even a big city like Tokyo, are usually spotless and would be very aesthetically pleasing were it not for the power lines that obstruct and foul the view. Maybe one of these days they will be put underground.

house in tokyo japan that looks like it could be in denmark or europe

Here is a rare camera angle that actually was able to capture a bit of Tokyo without any wires. This home doesn’t look very Tokyoish. It looks more like one you could find in Denmark or other parts of Europe. Our neighborhood has many such “different” homes. I’ll show you some more in later posts.

5 Responses to “Scenes from the neighborhood – Part 1”

  1. 1
    Anna:

    Hi there! Nice photos 🙂
    About the power lines, they won’t be put underground, because then it would be impossible to fix them after an earthquake. But in some smaller towns there’s a push to put the power lines behind the houses whenever possible to make the streets look more presentable.
    Greetings from Utsunomiya!
    🙂

  2. 2
    acase:

    Hi Anna,

    The photos on your blog are gorgeous.

    It seems to me that the lines would be easier to fix (and sustain less damage) underground after an earthquake than they currently do in typhoons (and earthquakes). No more worries about falling trees, wind, or other things hitting the wires either. The channels are already there for sewage. I would think it would be easier, cheaper, and more aesthetically pleasing to maintain one utility channel underground than the current two.

  3. 3
    Anna:

    Hi Al!
    I think they tried the underground thingie in some municipalities here back in the 90s, and after the Kobe earthquake decided it was a bad idea. Honestly, after a while, you just stop noticing them. Power lines, shmawer lines, as my husband says. But they do give that quaint third-world feel to the cities here. LOL! 🙂
    And thanks for stopping by! The gorgeous photos are taken by my husband. The not so gorgeous by me. hehehe…

  4. 4
    Katie:

    That garden is absolutely beautiful. I love how ‘busy’ and cosily cluttered the outside of houses and flats are in Japan, they look really lived in if you know what I mean? We live in very manicured, albeit attractive, series of flats and it’s kind of alien how no one has any washing out or bicycles, etc. There is some real personality to Japanese homes.

    And I can’t comment on the exposed wires…every power socket in my flat is spaghetti junction thanks to a husband who has a home music studio 😛 (meaning: our home)

  5. 5
    Haf:

    A few months ago I read about a mayor of some smaller town in Japan planning to put the lines in the ground. I don’t know if they’ll actually do it, but there were some photoshopped pictures of the streets to show what difference it would make. Actually it makes quite a difference. But I guess after a while, the lines blend in with the scenery and aren’t noticable as much anymore. 🙂

    I also heard that they’ve put most of the lines above ground because of earthquake damage.
    But let’s not forget about one thing: Putting the lines in the ground is expensive and takes time. Now while in Germany most people are connected to the internet via copper lines, many people in Japan can enjoy fiber optics cable connections with much higher speeds and at lower costs. Which once more shows me that I live in the wrong country 😉