August 25, 2009 at 9:20 am (Japanese homes, Japanese kitchens, Japanese shops)
First, another reason why it is a mystery- countries that have huge fridges usually also buy in bulk, which is very rare in Japan where most household shopping is done on a bike and Costco type shops have never really taken off.
My latest conclusion is that it’s partly to make up for the lack of convenient shelf and cupboard space in the average Japanese kitchen, leading to telling my mother in law that it shouldn’t go in the fridge (Marmite! Shortbread!) leading to complete mystery as to where to put it.
Although I have seen similar things in other Japanese houses, I am perfectly aware that most of my insight into Japan comes from one not especially typical family, so others’ ideas very gratefully received. My previous attempt to explain this is part of Japanese Gadgets and Technology Explained
August 23, 2009 at 8:51 pm (Japan FAQs and SAQs, Japanese accommodation, Japanese homes)
This one puzzled me for a while, because most Japanese didn’t strike me as the kinds of people who’d want every stranger passing in the street to know their names and where they live (especially if there name is Gomi like someone in my street!) It turns out the reason is because several houses in the same street/ block have the exact same postal address and so the only way post and guests can reach the right one is by reading your name outside. This is also why post that is addressed to you sometimes doesn’t get there if you don’t stick your name outside (and JPLT refuse to send you anything if it isn’t) or c/o someone whose name is there, although all these things are less true for flats (apaato, mansion, coopo etc) as it has a distinctive building name and then an individual room number.
Getting back to my original query on why the Japanese would be happy to have that system, despite seeming to be very private at times, privacy is not a Japanese system (hence the use of the borrowed English word in Japanese), and certainly not privacy from your neighbours!
The Japanese street and home (non) numbering system is explained someone else on this blog somewhere- one of the pages perhaps??