Saturday, July 12, 2008


Recently Rowena posted about hanging laundry in Italy. I commented and she wrote back saying she wanted to see how we hang laundry here.

So, with the help of the big condo across the street, I'll show you a glimpse at how most of us are hanging out our laundry. I usually don't hang our laundry outside because someone in our building likes to smoke out on their lanai, so my nicely washed clothing/towels always smell like someone has been smoking next to them (insert pouty face).

First off, our lanai have these attachments in which you slide your metal poles into. (Not all apartments have these) These attachments are adjustable, they can be put at 90-degrees, or 45-degrees. Then all the way down when you aren't using them.

If you hang something directly onto the poles (like towels), I would recommend wiping down the poles. You wouldn't believe how much black "stuff" is actually in the air.

The poles can be bought from hardware stores or even large supermarkets. These guys are about 3 meters when not expanded but can go to about 5 or 6 meters long.

Imagine Satoshi and I with these poles in a teeny crowded bus lugging them back to our place so that I can hang laundry. Yup, we didn't have a car when we first came to Japan (and still don't because public transportation is that good), so everything we bought was either brought back by ourselves or delivered by the store we bought it from.

The pink gadget at the end of the pole was bought from the 100 yen store. This is to insure that the poles do not free themselves from the attachment with the wind. Especially during typhoon season, you wouldn't want these "pole vaulting poles" to be hurling themselves through the air.

Unlike a clothesline, you need to put your clothes onto a hanger then hang them onto the pole.

Most people have a clip that secures the hanger to the pole. This is to prevent crows from taking the empty hangers to make their nests and to keep the clothes from flying away.

Also, on sunny days many people air out their futon (Japanese comforters). You can hear them beating them with sticks (bam bam bam). This lady was out on her balcony, you may be able to see the stick in her hands. Actually, I don't like the idea of beating them, because you are releasing "stuff" into the air as well as letting your "stuff" go onto the futon/laundry that is airing one floor down...eew.

For me, I don't mind the laundry hanging out, but I do feel that hanging the futons over the side are a bit of an eye sore.

Hope you are enjoying the weekend.


Michelle Toratani said...

My entire paternal side is from Osaka and they always said foods better in Osaka than Tokyo and I tend to agree. People are more colorful that's for sure! I would say Osaka is famous for Kani Doraku, Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki and Unagi. :-)

Michelle Toratani said...

So actually reminds me of Singapore. We hang ours on hanging racks in the house in winter, outside in summer. Because it's winter in Australia, it takes up to 4 or 5 days for a load to dry!! I miss dryers...but what's funny is that people in Hawaii or any hot place nowadays don't tend to hang their wash (except my grandparents) when it would save $$ and energy. I stayed at a friend's house in CA in summer, it was 110F and I hung out the laundry outside and my friend looked "surprised" that I didn't want to use the dryer. My clothes dried in 15 minutes in that heat - no kidding.

K & S said...

Our laundry takes a long time to dry in the winter too, Michelle. I've never been to Kani Doraku but I hear it is a good place for crab. I heard that food tends to be cheaper in Osaka :)

Take care.

Rowena said...

Thanks Kat! I was envisioning all sorts of stuff before when you told me about the poles. Now the thing that made me laugh was the part about the crows! OMG, they STEAL the hangers? Great "visual" too on how you guys had to bring these home on a teeny bus. From that statement alone it reminded me that space is a premium in Japan. Definitely on the opposite end when it comes to wide open and having your own "personal" space back in the states. And I gotta agree with Michelle, how come many Hawaii folks don't hang their wash on the line? Would save a few $$ off of the electric bill!

p.s. Over here they hang/lean their comforters, sheets AND mattresses outside to air out when it's sunny. I gotta remember to take a photo.

Anonymous said...

Kat - you forgot to mention the HUGE plastic clips used to hold futons and other bulky goods in place on the railings.

K & S said...

Yes Anon, I did forget about the huge plastic clips to hold the futons! :) Thanks for the reminder.

Rowena, everytime I go home, my mom tells me I should use the dryer, I tell her I don't want to be spoiled (cause I don't have one in Japan). :) I agree it would save $$ on the electric bill.

Take care you two.

Lori said...

Hi kat,
I know a lot of places over here that have community associations don't allow hanging clothes outside. The last time I checked I think the place where we live would fine you around $25 after a warning. Crazy huh?

K & S said...

Lori, that is crazy!

Take care.

KirkK said...

Hi Kat - That was so interesting! When I first moved to LA....I noticed no clotheslines...I hung something outside to dry once...and it reeked when I brought it in.

Colin said...

I love your posts about everyday things in Japan! It makes me feel like I'm there.

Greetings from Seattle!

P.S. I've starting studying Japanese. (My BF's family in Japan speak no English.) I figure it will take about 5 years to be decently proficient. I'd love to read blog posts on Japanese language issues for non-native speakers. Do you ever enounter these?

Debinhawaii said...

I hang my beach towels outside on my lanai and hang most of my clothes (inside) rather than put them in the dryer but I have to confess to throwing sheets and towels in the dryer. I think it is mostly me being lazy more than anything else. :-(

K & S said...


Thanks Colin! Good luck with your studies :) You should have your BF speak Japanese with you more often. If I run into any problem, you'll probably read about it on this blog :)

Deb, I must admit throwing the towels and sheets into the dryer helps make them nice and soft (what I miss most about the dryer). The stiff as cuttlefish towels are something that needs getting used to :)

Take care everyone!

Julia G said...

Hello, I've been reading your blog for quite a while now and I really enjoy it. I'm interested in Japanese and Japan myself, and am intending to live there someday... so it's really nice to hear about what everyday life is like.

I was just wondering, how do you communicate with people on a day to day basis? Like, did you learn Japanese before you went over? How long did it take for you to become pretty fluent?

Thanks a lot!!


Jackie said...

Love the fresh smell of clothes dried outside bit my neighboring smokers never bother it, the birds do! Bird doo-doo on my bed sheets, ICK! then I have to wash them all over again. :(

K & S said...

Thanks Julia! I am of Japanese ancestry but I also majored in Japanese, and studied in Japan for 9 months. I guess you could say that I am still working to become fluent because there are some things I do not know in Japanese.

Eew, Jackie, I don't envy you.

Take care you two.

Debinhawaii said...

Hey Kat,
BTW--I left a Blog Award on my site for you today!

K & S said...

Aww, thank you Deb!

Take care.

Pandabonium said...

Interesting post. Thanks. We have a bit of a yard and used hang the laundry from poles suspended from our awning. Then we bought one of those free standing systems that holds up two poles. To keep the poles from flying away in the wind, I used those plastic gardening straps that they sell in 100 yen shops.

I'm happy not to have a big electric bill from drying clothes like I did on Maui.

K & S said...

You are very lucky to have a yard, PB! :)

Take care.