When a typical Japanese house reaches 30 years of age, it’s considered dangerous and likely to fall down. I think this is more of a myth than reality, but it’s a common belief that has led to a huge industry of “reform”.
This holds particular interest for me because I live in one of those houses and there are only 12 years left before it supposedly implodes!
Here, I count down the top 20 most desired “reforms” according to a rather dated Japanese Goo ranking.
If you live in a wooden house, the last thing you want is water getting in. Painting the walls and fixing leaks in the roof is the 20th most desired “reform” in Japan.
Fix the leaks, replace the tiles, heck, just replace the entire roof!
18. No more steps
Replacing steps with slopes and making other changes to accommodate the elderly ranks at #18.
Instead of painting the walls, you can choose a nice design and stick news walls over your old walls! Apparently they hold all kinds of benefits such as retaining warmth, no cracking, no leaking, and they look pretty, too.
16. Lighting equipment
Brighten up the place with some fancy new lights!
Considering how few people have gardens of any significant size, it may be surprising to find “garden” at number 15 on the list of most desired “reforms”.
14. Sash fixtures
These are the fixtures that hold window panes in place. I’d never even thought about it before, but they must be popular!
The Japanese “living” is the most used room in the house. Who wouldn’t want to dress it up a bit?
12. Change the locks
Fear of intruders has encouraged the Japanese population to change their locks. Security has been almost non-existent in Japanese homes until recently, but that’s all changing now.
Renovating your floors, and under them, can help combat termite infestation, improve ventilation, and even offer secret storage space!
Fancy a spot of decorating? I think this means completely renewing the furniture, carpets, curtains and all the rest of it.
Install a full air-conditioning ventilation system, improve insulation, or just buying some thicker windows. Whatever you do, your home should be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer… in theory.
8. Earthquake protection
Perhaps not surprisingly in a country with more earthquakes than the rest of the world put together, making your house earthquake-resistant is a top priority for many people.
This is a popular new option for home owners, and I suspect it would rank much higher than #7 if the survey was taken today. “All Denka” means converting your house to run solely from electricity. This is something I plan to do, but I’ll be going for the solar powered option when it becomes more affordable.
6. Sound insulation
The walls in Japanese houses are paper thin, so it’s no surprise that soundproofiing is high on the “reform” list.
Changing the layout of you house pretty much means rebuilding it on the inside, leaving just the outer shell in its original state. You see this a fair bit on that TV show where a construction crew come and reform someone’s house on a shoestring budget.
There are still a lot of old homes with a Japanese-style one, but even those with a western-style toilet might want to upgrade to one of the latest auto-flushing, bum-washing, perfume-spaying, remotely controlled, super computers toilets.
The high ranking for a washbasin “reform” must be partly due to its price. A fancy Japanese washbasin is really a vanity unit – a wardrobe-high unit that includes a sink, mirror, cabinets, toothbrush rack, plug sockets and lighting. The word “reform” is associated with expensive, but these washbasins are an exception to the rule.
Every Japanese housewife’s dream is to have an “all-denka system kitchen”. If you believe the advertising, this is a kitchen that is all electric, space-saving, self-cleaning, with an auto-refilling fridge. Okay, not quite, but it gets pretty close.
At the top of the reform wishlist is the bathroom. I can only assume this is because of all the mold that builds up if you don’t clean the walls thoroughly. It must be something to do with Japan’s climate because mold gets between all the tiles and getting rid of it is the obsession of every housewife.
Those are the twenty most desired home “reforms” in Japan. What would you like to “reform” most in your home?