Kathy from Japan
Hello Grandma Donna.
I am submitting 3 photos of my laundry arrangements for my apartment in Southern Japan. I think that these arrangements are fairly representative of the norm here.
The first photo is of my washing machine corner. The machine itself is a combination washer and dryer that has an "eco" function. It also has a special hose that can be used to draw water from the bathtub, located behind the sliding door to the right, into the washing machine. If I use the tap water that runs directly into the machine, it is always unheated/cold water. Here the bather scrubs their body well before getting into the tub and no soaps are used in the tub. It is mainly used for warming the body and relaxing so the water can be reused. The used water can also be reheated as the bathtub has a separate heater built in that can be set to any desired temperature.
I rarely use the dryer as it seems to to be generally inefficient and wrinkles the clothes etc. It works very differently from American machines and energy costs are high here. I do occasionally use it on rainy or winter days when thicker items will not fully dry outdoors and only for items like socks , towels etc. that will not matter if they wrinkle. I often set it to partial dry and let the laundry air dry the rest of the way outdoors or on the bar under the dehumidifier or to a short cycle if they don't fully dry outdoors first. Most towels are smaller and thinner here so that they will dry more easily. I repurposed some of my large American bath sheets, that did not dry well here, by cutting them into 4 smaller towels and finishing them to make kitchen hand towels.
To the left of the washer/dryer is the bathroom sink that is designed to function partly as a utility sink. The sink, toilet and bathtubs are separated into different rooms. The sink here has an adjustable height spout and pulls out with a flexible hose so can be used to fill buckets or hand wash/pre-wash clothing, scrub collars etc. The head is also adjustable for different types of water pressure/streams. I keep buckets for soaking just on the other side of the sliding doors in the bathing room.
The second photo is of my balcony. If you look in the distance you can see laundry and futons hung out to air on the balconies of another building. We hang laundry outdoors 12 months of the year. It will dry in winter, it just takes longer and I have to be sure to get it out early in the day to be dry by sundown. If we don't get things in by 4pm or dusk certain times of the year sometimes it will start to absorb moisture again from the air. I have 2 stainless steel poles above with slots for hangers so that they don't go scooting down the line or blow away with a stronger wind ;) I hang sheets and blankets on these poles as well but can only do 2 at a time. These poles are used for drying most of the clothing. The smaller items are clipped to the round rack, which can hold a lot if well managed.
The third photo is of the heating and cooling unit in our main living space. Most homes do not have central heating or air conditioning. This unit has a dehumidify function. Mold is a big problem in the humid climate here so I am very careful about hanging laundry indoors. The rack below the unit is used to hang laundry that is for the most part dry but just needs a little extra time or for very light items that will dry more easily. It's my back-up on rainy or certain winter days. I can hang the clothes below and set the unit to dehumidify if needed, to draw the excess moisture out. My husband and I are empty nesters now so I can delay laundry to days when the weather is more suitable but the dehumidifier option was handy when I was washing school uniforms mid-week and the weather was not in sync with our needs ;)
Starting the laundry is one of the first things I do after I rise in the morning. The daily TV news has the "sentaku(laundry) report" as part of the weather report and includes information about humidity, wind etc. and recommendations about whether or not it will be a good day for laundry and any bits of advice for that day's laundry. I enjoy hanging out the wash, however, I own a lot of 100% cotton clothing so I also do a lot more ironing here than I did living in the USA ;) That I am less fond of ^-^.
Kathy in Southern Japan
Thank you Kathy,
I wish I had that balcony with the bars to hang the laundry here because our high humidity and sudden rain showers makes for a lot of running back and forth to the clothesline. I am guessing the slots keep the hangers in place so the wind does not blow them away. I love the pastel colors of the toiletries.
Anyone can send photos and share with us your part of the world, just send photos and emails. Grandma Donna