Friday, May 18, 2007
Futon and laundry
It is a sunny day for a change so I'm being housewifely and washing the mountain of clothes and doing other pertinent duties that should be done on a sunny day. Boring.
Do I really want to post this picture? I mean, I may be taking things a bit too far in describing Japanese culture. How many people would show their laundry and bedding? But I guess, if I can tell you about toilets, I can tell you about bedding.
Today, homemakers all over Japan are taking advantage of the nice day by hanging their bedding over fences, veranda rails; in the case of the farmers, over bushes and even parked cars. Grab all the sun you can get! Most everybody has futon which are heavy cotton mats that can be taken up off the floor every morning and put in their special closets, except for on the really sunny, breezy days when the futon will be aired. Airing the futon makes them somewhat fluffy again and rids them off any germs or bacteria (I guess) so conscientious housewives try to do this as often as possible. I'm not so fastidious but I did drag my futon over the veranda today.
When Tetsu and I were engaged, we prepared for life together by purchasing the things a new couple might need and one of the things was futon. I could not believe that he expected us to sleep in separate futons like the rest of Japan. Unheard of! We must have a double futon! Don't all married couples sleep in double beds in the States? So, though my mother-in-law thought it was an odd thing to do, she helped me order a double futon. This is one of the things that, as a foreigner I thought was a must, which turned out to be a flop. (There are quite a few more on my list.) A double futon is heavy!!!! You cannot pick it up! A double futon does not fit in the special closet!!! You have to manuver and twist youself until you slip a disc! You can't buy sheets for a double futon!!! You have to have your mother send you double flat sheets from the States! Suffice it to say, that once our double futon was tired and flat we purchased normal single futons and have lived happily ever after.
You'll notice the laundry hanging up there too. I do hang out the laundry daily because although I have a clothes dryer I haven't used it in over a year and right now it is my storage place for cat food. I don't know why, but people don't really use dryers on a regular basis around here. In a pinch they are nice for drying something but they are considered uneconomical and energy consumptive so everyone hangs their laundry outside. During the rainy season this is a problem and my dryer may get used once or during those months but basically, everything gets put outside in the morning and taken in in the evening.
Now having said that I hope it doesn't suddenly rain on me this evening and then I'll have a problem!