Home in Japan has changed a lot. If you are caught in the framework of one tradition, custom, and lifestyle, new things will not be born.
However, it is also rare that what was born without the traditions nurtured in the long history is genuine. How has Japan’s home changed ?
The old house was cold after all. Everywhere in the house was cold. Even if I heated it, the room did not warm up and I lived in a ※kotatsu.
※ The kotatsu is a traditional Japanese table, which comes covered with a blanket and has a heater placed underneath.
How cold was it? The wooden floor was so cold that I couldn’t walk barefoot, ※ tabi and socks were essential items in my house.
※ Tabi are Japanese -style socks with a separate division for the big toe and the other toes. The division is made to allow the wearer to grip the strap of a sandal or clog.
I had to be prepared to stand in the bathroom. After taking a bath, I wore a sweater on my pajamas so that it wouldn’t cool down.
I woke up with a cold head coming out of the ※ futon in the morning.
※ Futon is a thick bedquilt or a mattress stuffed with cotton.
When I was a kid, I remember that the futon that I took out of the closet was cold and I couldn’t sleep until it was warmed up by my body temperature.
A draft came in from a single glass window and a wooden window frame, and although it was indoors, it was almost as cold as the outside air, but I took it for granted.
Perhaps there were quite a few such houses in the 40’s and 50’s of the Showa era (1965 ~1984) .
In current home, the entire room warms up as soon as is heated. Of course, there is no draft.
But why is it unhealthy?
Certainly the heated room is warm. However, unheated rooms, entrance halls, corridors, washrooms, etc. have only the outside air plus at most 4 or 5 degrees.
If there is a room that is heating about 26 degrees, it means that there is a temperature difference of 20 degrees or more in the house.
In winter, a house where warm and cold places live together, in fact, a house with such a temperature difference triggers a stroke or myocardial infarction.
For example, they casually enter in the bathroom from a warm bedroom. The sudden temperature difference at the moment of entering the cold corridor raises blood pressure. Perhaps it didn’t happen in the old house where they lived with the recognition that the inside of the house was cold.
In the old days, not only in winter, but also in summer, it was chilly and I woke up at dawn.
No matter how hot it was during the day, when it got cooler in the evening, the inside of the house got cooler as well.
The construction of the house was open, and not only the interior but the entire house was well-ventilated.
Today’s homes have improved heat insulation and airtightness so that the heat does not escape to the outside when heated and drafts do not enter from the outside. As a result, the heat of the sun coming in through the windows and the heat generated during daily life did not escape to the outside, resulting in a hot summer home.
Houses that are hot in the summer and where the heat does not escape are actually vulnerable to humidity. The reason why old houses have created cool summer houses in preference to the cold of winter is that due to the hot and humid climate of Japan, consideration for humidity was indispensable for the houses.
Even in the olden days when building a well-ventilated house was the basis of building a house, it was said that tuberculosis was prevalent in humid houses.
It’s a modern home with a muffled humidity and poor ventilation. It is no wonder that one in three or one in two Japanese people have an allergic disease.
This is because one of the major causes of allergic diseases is mold generated from humidity and mites that use the mold as a nutrient source. This is the reason why it is pointed out that the airtightness of the house is a problem.
Even if you open the window of the current house, the inside of the house is partitioned by the corridor in the middle, so the wind cannot go through.
In a private room with a normally closed door, you can hardly expect ventilation in the room.
Not only does the central corridor impair ventilation, but it also blocks sunlight from the windows on the south side, making it impossible to penetrate deep into the house.
And such a private room-centered house also has a big problem of diluting family contact.
When considering the relationship between housing and health, and of course health, housing may be only one factor. However, also there are clothes and food in the house.
The “basic needs” for a human being is food (including water), shelter and clothing.
And above all, the home is the first place where the soul born in this world can experience what it means to live.