Two things …
One; there’s a saying in Japan that goes thus, ‘Semai Nihon. Sonnani isoide, doko e iku non?' / 狭い日本、そん何急いで、どこへいくの？ Little Japan. Where are you going in such a hurry?
It’s a pertinent phrase in more ways than one. Today though, we only need the ‘little’ bit. Actually, Japan isn’t that ‘little’. In terms of the way people live here though, much of the land is mountainous so most of us are forced into the few bits of flat land that the country has. Consequently, we’re cramped. Few people have gardens, and even fewer have enough space to string a washing line between two trees (most of us haven’t got the trees for a start).
Two; Japan has an almost feverish desire to do laundry. The old couple who own the building where this writer lives, live in a place, just the two of them. Yet, every day, without fail, the wife is hanging out a football team’s worth of laundry (most of it in the form of various shapes, design, and purpose of towel). Hell, even the TV weather forecast is telling us when to hang out the laundry.
So with a mountain of laundry to dry/air, and very little space at our disposal, what to do? Get down to one of Japan's 100 yen stores, that’s what. Here you can find some innovative (and hilarious) plastic clips, hooks, and racks that maximise the minimal space we have to hang out our clothes. We introduce our favorites here.
If you haven’t got the extension poles, oversized clamps, and pegs pictured above, you must have just arrived in Japan. If this is the case, go out and get ‘em. Pronto.
Door frame clamp
We like this one a lot. It really comes into its own on those rainy days when you simply must do laundry. Of course, you can just about hang a regular coat hanger on a Japanese door frame, but it’s precarious at best. With this clamp you won’t need to keep picking hanger and shirts off the floor.
Holders for your hangers
Not sure how we feel about this. We often have concerns about hanging things outside on regular hangers lest they be blown away. With this 100 yen store item, the hangers are secured, but if you’ve clothes hanging off them with wide necks, for example, we’re still not sure how this item can help against a strong gust of wind.
Dry the hood
An example of how much Japan loves getting clothes dry. Back home, authorities are actively trying to reduce the number of hoodies in circulation (they’re banned in some towns as they are the mark of ‘thugs’). Here though, they’re coming up with devices to make sure you get that hood part all nice and dry. A bit excessive if you ask us, but we like the attention to detail.
OK, not about laundry, but getting pillows aired and dried takes on the importance of a tax return, here in Japan. Personally, shoving ‘em up against a window seems to do the trick. Still, if they must go outside, then maybe one of these 100 yen hangers will help. Actually, the effect is one of a dead carcass hanging in a butchers. However, the Japanese partner in crime was suitably impressed, so this will be getting more use. Concerns about what size it can handle.
When we used the word 'hilarious' in our preamble above, this is what we were referring to. A shower seems an unlikely place to hang things to dry. Still, if you’re really desperate. No, hang on. If the only thing in your crib to, err, hang stuff on is an unused shower fitting, then, well, words escape us. Either way, someone thought of this, designed it, and put it into production, which we take to mean there is a market for it. Perhaps you.
All of the items above were found in 100 yen stores for that 100 yen price (without tax).
What cool stuff have you bought from one of Japan’s 100 yen stores, that can help with hanging out the laundry. Let us know, and help out other expats in Japan.