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Published at Sunday, February 17th, 2019 - 05:11:48 AM. House. By Alek Pulalo.

Japanese Housing Conditions : In Japan, land price is expensive and housing conditions regarding its rent and size are not good compared to other countries. Accommodation is a very serious problem even for the Japanese particularly in urban areas, which lack spacious and low cost housing. 1. Japanese rental housing In Japan there is both public housing and private housing. Apartments make up the majority of rental housing. a) Public housing Public housing is provided by official organizations such as prefectural, city, and town governments, and housing supply corporations. Any non-Japanese who has an alien registration can apply for this kind of housing regardless of nationality. There are two types of housing: Koei Jutaku (public housing) is for people who have a low income; and Tokutei Yuryo Chintai Jutaku (delux family housing) and Kosha/Kodan Jutaku (Public Corporation housing) for those with a middle-class income. These apartments provide a certain level of facilities at relatively low rent. It is necessary to pay two to three months rent as a deposit (guarantee money) at your tenancy, but key money which is necessary for private housing is not required. However, qualifications such as income are precisely determined, and only those who satisfy these qualifications can apply. As there are many applicants, the tenants are determined by lottery. After moving in, the tenants must comply with the regulations for use (i.e. nobody is allowed to live together with the tenants without permission). This type of housing is mainly apartments, which generally include kitchen, bath, and oshiire (closet), with one to four rooms. b) Private rental housing Private rental housing is owned by individuals and private companies. The type varies in rent and size. 1. Aparto (Apartment) These are mainly two-story buildings constructed from light-weight steel, wood, or mortar, and house 4 to 8 households. Some of them share a toilet and/or have no bath. 2. Mansion (Apartment) In Japan, housing which is bigger than an Aparto and built with reinforced concrete is called a Mansion. The insulation is better than an Aparto, and privacy is better. Some have a custodian living on the first floor or others have an underground parking lot. 3. Detached house Detached houses have recently been designed using a mixture of Japanese and Western styles. Some of them have a garden. There are several rental houses designed especially for non-Japanese but not many. 2. Typical housing size and floor plan The area is indicated in square meters (m2) as well as original Japanese units, jo and tsubo. One jo means one tatami mat, and is roughly 180 cm x 90 cm. (Tatami is a unique Japanese floor covering). One tsubo is 182 cm x 182 cm or about 3.3m2 and equals approximately two jo. There are Japanese-style and Western-style rooms. A Japanese-style room has tatami mats and a Western-style room has flooring or a carpeted floor. Below is a typical Japanese housing floor plan. • K, DK, LDK - K means kitchen, D means dining room and L means living room. K means only a kitchen and DK means a dining room plus kitchen, and LDK means a room which has the function of a living room as well as dining room and kitchen. Therefore, 2DK means a house which has two rooms in addition to a room having the function of kitchen and dining room. • UB - UB means unit bath (unified formation bathroom), which includes bathtub, toilet and washbowl. • Oshiire (closet) - This means a storage space in a Japanese-style room. • PS - This means a pipe space containing drainpipes and wiring conduits. • MB - This means the meter box for water and gas. Floor plan for One-room Mansions (one-room apartments) (Example) Facilities are compact and there is one room which can be used as a living room. The kitchenette is very small, so that elaborate cooking is not possible. Some of them dont have any space for a washing machine inside the room. Floor plan for detached houses (Example) • Most detached houses in modern Japan have both Japanese and Western-style rooms. • Some of them have a garden and a parking space. 3. Customs regarding Japanese housing a) Shoes - In Japanese housing, there is an area for removing shoes before stepping up into the main entrance. Japanese people sit on the floor and sleep on a futon on the tatami, the Japanese traditional floor mats, so stepping on them with shoes on is not allowed. If you enter a room wearing shoes and dirt the mats, you might have to pay repair costs. b) Bathroom - In Japan bathing is not only washing the body but also a chance to relax while soaking in the bathtub. Recently bathrooms consisting of a Western-style bath with toilet have become popular, but the Japanese traditional bathroom is separate from the toilet and has a space to wash the body outside the bathtub. Bathtubs are mainly made of plastic or stainless steel. If you live with a Japanese family, you must keep the water in the bathtub as clean as possible because the rest of the family will take turns to use the water after you. Do not use soap in a Japanese-style bathtub. The water is heated mainly by gas. c) Tatami mats - Tatami mats are a traditional floor covering of straw sewn to make a mat about 5.5 cm thick and bound by woven rush. One tatami mat (jo) is also the unit used to indicate the size of a room. New tatami is green and the tatami mats are changed every few years or whenever moving house. d) Futon (thick bedquilt), bed and oshiire (closet) - In a Japanese house, generally the futon is rolled out every night and folded away in the oshiire every morning. During the daytime, the futon is kept inside the oshiire. In this way, a single room can be used for various purposes. If a bed is placed on the tatami mats, they are dented and damaged, so it is recommended to put boards under the legs of the bed. e) City gas and propane gas - Electricity or gas is provided for the stove and bath. There are two types of gas: city gas (coal gas), led to each household from gas company tanks, and propane gas, provided by dealers in the form of cylinders. City gas is managed by Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. and propane gas is managed by individual dealers. Gas cookers etc. should be supplied by tenants. f) Water supply and drainage - Almost all areas of Kanagawa Prefecture have water supply facilities. You can drink the tap water. In most cases there is a drainage or a water purification tank. The drainage system is not suitable for a disposer. g) Toilet - The Japanese-style toilet has a cover (dome) at the front. When the toilet is shared with other tenants, separate toilet slippers should be used. h) Air conditioning / heating - Some housing has air conditioning/heating but in most cases, tenants have to buy their own. Fuel for heating includes electricity, gas, and kerosene. Sometimes the use of kerosene is prohibited. I) Fusuma and shoji - These are unique Japanese sliding doors to separate rooms. Fusuma is a wooden frame with fusuma paper pasted on both sides. Shoji is a latticed wooden frame with shoji paper windows. It is possible to make a room bigger by removing fusuma to connect the rooms. Fusuma pasting should be done by a specialist but when shoji paper is torn, you can buy shoji paper and repair it yourself. 4. Common problems and how to troubleshoot a) Remove footwear - Do not enter a house with shoes on. Be sure to remove shoes at the entrance. b) Deposit -Most of the problems related to renting involve the deposit. In Japan when you rent a house, you have to pay a deposit to the house owner. This deposit is given to the house owner and returned without any interest when the lease is cancelled. However, repair costs are deducted, so the deposit is usually not returned in full. As the specific agreement of the rent is contained in the rental housing contract, please check the contract thoroughly and dont break it. As for the other expenses when making a contract, please refer to page 39. c) Number of residents - The number of residents is confirmed when the contract is made. Additional residents are not allowed. d) Noise - Do not make loud noises late at night. In apartments, the sound echoes more than you think. As the sound of running a large amount of water also bothers neighbors, try not to run a bath or do washing late at night. e) Pets - There are almost no apartments allowing pets other than small birds and goldfish. If you do find one where you can keep pets, please follow the rules. f) Kitchen - If you cook with a large amount of oil, clean the area soon after by wiping the sink and cooking area. The ventilation fan should also be cleaned regularly. g) Putting out the garbage - Garbage is collected by the municipal government. The collection point, date, and method are determined in each area. There are areas where flammable garbage and nonflammable garbage should be separated. As for large garbage items, there are areas where the collection date is already determined, or you can sometimes arrange to have them picked up. Please consult your neighbors or the municipal government. h) Long-term absence - When you are not at home for a long time, you should notify the house owner. Rent must be paid even when you are away. i) Remodeling of the room - If you want to remodel a room, such as by putting a nail into a pole or attaching a hook to the wall for holding clothes, you should first consult owner. It is assumed that you will leave the room in the condition it was in when you rented it. If you remodel the room and it cannot be returned to its original state, your deposit will not be returned, or additional payments may be required.

Facts About the Four Major Feng Shui House Types : Classical feng shui students learn about the four major house types within the first few days of instruction. These houses are described in broad brush strokes. Two of the four are supportive for health and relationships and two are not. Two of the four are supportive for financial luck and the other two are not. But to place too much emphasis on these four categories of house types, is like judging a book by its cover or a painting by its frame. In the 20th century, these four house types were given catchy descriptions, translated from more non-literal Chinese terms, whereby we have one house type that is now labeled good for people/good for money (aka Wang Shan Wang Shui). The exact opposite house type is referred to as Reversed, as in the reverse of the best house. Then there are the two mixed house types, with one being deemed good for people/bad for money (Double Sitting) and the other one good for money/bad for people (Double Facing.) In reality, we know that life is more complicated, and yet we all know someone who is wealthy, but unhealthy or wealthy but very unhappy. We also know of people who are strong physically and mentally, with loving family members and close friendships, but maybe chronic financial struggles. So it is easy to assume that these four major house personalities cast their influence on the occupants to create these real discrepancies. In studying Xuan Kong Fei Xing, there are actually 144 different house charts, but these 144 flying star charts can all be grouped into the four major categories. These categories are determined based on when a house was built and what direction it is sitting or facing, so it is not like seeing a house with certain physical characteristics which would be so obvious. One of the most frustrating things I encounter frequently is a prospective client who wants me to assist them in house hunting and they have heard about this good for people/good for money house and they only want to live in that house type and no others. This is a very myopic way to go house hunting since what qualifies as good Feng Shui overall is based on a lot of criteria which is not determined based solely on the houses orientation or year built. In fact, there are so many instances when a floor plan lay-out is flawed, that it seriously undercuts or over-rides the nature of the so-called best house of these four major categories. For example, I had one client whose house was deemed this Wang Shan Wang Shui (good for people/good for money house type.) Meanwhile, the actual floor plan demonstrated that the bedrooms, entrance and home office were in the worst parts of the house. To backtrack a little, it should be understood that no house on the planet has all inherently positive areas. On average, there are about four of the total eight basic directional zones in any structure that are considered better or worse than the others. Here is a specific example: For a house which was built in 1985 and facing south between 160-170 degrees, the best locations (in the flying star chart) will be in the northwest, north, northeast and east sectors. The other directions (west, southwest, southeast and south) are not as inherently positive in the current times for that particular house type. So at this point, we have not even studied the floor plan. We are just speculating about the most positive influences for that one house, being one of the 144 total flying star charts to consider. So with this house in mind which was supposed to be so good, that client had perpetual financial problems, marital woes, problems with his children, legal issues, kidney problems for both husband and wife, as well as a serious burglary where they lost valuables totaling $100,000.00. So, I would not call that a good for people/good for money house. In contrast, I have a client who enjoys world-wide fame as an actor in TV and film and yet he lives in a Reversed house type, which is supposed to be bad for people and bad for money. He has a happy home life and does quite well in his career which has spanned more than 30 years. So, how is that possible? Well, aside from destiny which over rides Feng Shui, this man happens to naturally dwell in the most positive parts of his house instead of the most negative parts. His bedroom and office and convenient back door entrance totally support his good fortune. This is why I sometimes beg my clients to provide me with a floor plan when they are house hunting. So many people get the mistaken impression that all I need is an address, to look up the year built and compass reading on the internet. Without a floor plan to study, about 80% of the information is missing or based on guesstimates. So, now I hope I have well established that the four major house types cannot and do not predict exactly what kind of fortune or misfortune the occupants may experience. The basic house type must be collaborated with the unique floor plan, and understanding of qi flow, the impact of the immediate exterior environment and even personal compatibility with the house based on the occupants birth data and occupation. The lesser known fact about the four major houses styles still eludes many long time practitioners. And that important fact is that the four house types do not retain their status into perpetuity. Many practitioners assume once a Reversed house, always a Reversed house. And they assume the same fate for the other three house types. But this is actually, technically not so. What established the four major house types to begin with is based on criteria relevant to the Period in which a house was built. Once a house surpasses its own Construction Period, it relinquishes its title as one of the four major house types. For example, Period 5 was from 1944 through 1963. For houses built during that 20 year Era, they are referred to as Period 5 houses. However, they are no longer the Wang Shan Wang Shui, Reversed, Double Sitting or Double Facing house type that they originally were. In each 20 Year Era, there are sixteen different house types based just on orientation and then they get further grouped into the four major house types. However, after 1964, those Period 5 houses ceased to be defined by those definitions. In Period 8, which is from 2004 through 2023, we have houses built during this time frame which are correctly classified as one of the four house types, but those terms will end in 2024 when Period 9 begins. At that point in time, only Period 9 houses will qualify as one of the four major house types. Houses from all other Periods are exempt. We have 9 Periods that each last for 20 years. This means that most houses are not one of the four major house types, even though it sounds like a category that all would fall into.



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