Jul 1, 2018
Have you noticed? At the hair salon, a restaurant, or at school, there is a place to put your stuff.
In addition to shoe lockers for some establishments, there are umbrella stands at the entrance to most buildings in Japan. The genkan, or entrance room, is a wonderful transformation space to change shoes and take off rain jackets or coats.
This is a welcome designated space as I grew up taking my shoes off at home, but there wasn't a space to neatly store shoes near the door.
When you go to any service type location, there will usually be a small cupboard or a basket to put a bag into so it doesn't need to be directly placed on the ground. During winter this is especially helpful for all of the coats, mittens, hats, and scarves that don't need to be worn inside. If there isn't a basket, an empty chair is often used, or sometimes women carry a special hook to hang their purses under a table. This is something else I've never seen back home, even at fancy places! I think we could learn from this kind gesture. I remember awkwardly hanging things on the backs of chairs most of the time.
I thought this looked like something out of a tiny house tour or smart storage for utilizing unused space in a car. It's a fancy under bench seat storage area for any belongings, conveniently used in a mall restaurant – in case you have already done some shopping. The chairs in the same restaurant had a great design with a platform below the seat where a bag could be kept.
Some shopping malls also provide free storage lockers for your items, and some of these are even refrigerated. Of course paid storage lockers are sometimes available in busy stations which is convenient for those traveling but not checking into hotels.
This is a way better solution than keeping a shopping cart with you while you try to sit down and eat after shopping. Even small Japanese shopping carts take up all the isle space and drive me crazy.
It took a little practice for me to notice the baskets and shoe lockers, but the culture in Japan seems to be that there is a proper place for everything, most of the time. I wonder if this will catch on elsewhere, as the lonely umbrella stand and coat rack don't really work for shopping bags.