Lesson 45 - Inside the house

There are many different kinds of Japanese houses, just like anywhere, but all the houses have elements similar to one another. As you know, aparments, or APAATO, are widely popular in Japan, and these APAATO are put together in large complexes called danchi that almost serve as small communities for the residents. In the suburbs, though, it is common to just find normal, two-story houses. The entrance to a home is called a genkan. Inside the genkan, it is custom to take off your shoes and put on a pair of slippers, called SURIPPA. To invite someone in, you would say O agari kudasai, which literally means "Step up please".

Inside, the floors are usually covered in mats called tatami. These tatami mats are usually used to measure apartment sizes, and you might see advertisements for a 6 tatami mat room or maybe a smaller 4.5 mat room. The ima, or living room, is usually covered in these mats and in the middle of the ima you might find a kotatsu, which is a table covered with a blanket that has a heater underneath. Also here, you will find the usual television and such, but there is also an alcove called a tokonoma where a kakejiku (wall scroll), flower arrangements, and a butsudan (Buddhist altar) may be found. The bedroom is called the shinshitsu. Though many bedrooms are now adopting Western furniture, like BEDDO (beds), many people still use a futon, which is like a rolled out mattress, to sleep on at night along with pillows called makura. The futon is stored in a cupboard called a todana. Also, sometimes the ima might double as a bedroom to save space in smaller houses. The kitchen, called daidokoro, is typically small and cluttered. Inside there is a small reizouko, or refrigerator, and usually a rice cooker, stove, and other essentials. Since the reizouko is so small, women find they have to shop for food everyday. Moving on, the bathroom is called ofuroba and is also small as well. Inside the ofuroba is an ofuro, or a hot tub type bath. There is a separate room for the otearai, or the toilet. Inside the ofuroba, you usually shower, called the SHAWAA before you soak yourself in the hot tub. After you shower and get clean, you would wear a cotton robe called a yukata. The word for just a plain room is heya. As you can see, Japanese homes are very similar to Western homes. The biggest difference is probably the customs from country to country.

団地 Danchi- apartment complexes
玄関 Genkan- entrance way
スリッパ SURIPPA- slippers
お上がりください O agari kudasai- Step up please (Please come in)
たたみ Tatami- mats
居間 Ima- living room
火燵 Kotatsu- heated table
床の間 Tokonoma- alcove
掛け軸 Kakejiku- wall scroll
仏壇 Butsudan- Buddhist altar
寝室 Shinshitsu- bedroom
ベッド BEDDO- bed
布団 Futon- mattress
枕 Makura- pillows
戸棚 Todana- cupboards
台所 Daidokoro- kitchen
冷蔵区 Reizouko- refrigerator
お風呂場 Ofuroba- bathroom
お手洗い Otearai- toilet
お風呂 Ofuro- bath
シャワー SHAWAA- shower
浴衣 Yukata- cotton robe
部屋 Heya- room