The thing with laundry

We’re in the middle of spring; the weather is getting warmer and the days longer. This is the perfect time to compose a little post on laundry:
If you go on a walk around Tokyo (or probably anywhere in Japan) on a sunny day you will invariably find laundry hanging on almost every balcony (another reason why the Japanese are usually rather informed about the weather). This was also the background of a rather memorable (yeah, let’s call it that) encounter with a half-naked guy on his 5th floor balcony picking out his outfit for the day when the duck and I were exploring our new neighborhood… well, if that wasn’t the cherry on top of our newfound love for this place we’d soon call our favorite temporary home. I guess here in Japan people feel rather safe on their balconies and, unlike me, they don’t worry too much about others accidentally spying on them or their drying clothes. In fact, it’s not rare to hang all your underwear outside to dry as well – much to the delight of panty thieves (okay, let me clarify here that while they do exist, they’re not as common as I make them sound; I was just rather amused when my friend told me that this is a more common reason for girls to not want to live on the ground floor in central Tokyo, than a fear of flooding).laundry duck
While I think that it’s great for the environment to let your clothes air-dry, the main reason for this practice is probably the size of the typical Japanese apartment that usually just allows for a small washer. Some older apartment buildings even feature a specified space for washers (and sometimes even dryers) outside each apartment, so that you actually have to step out of your home to do laundry!
Another thing that I found surprising is that it’s not uncommon at all to do laundry daily, even if it’s just a towel and your outfit of the day. While, with all that crazy humidity, I do understand wanting to change your towels after each use, I still don’t fully see why daily laundry is so popular. Well, actually, if there’s not a lot of space to hang your laundry in your tiny apartment, I can understand the need to wash many, many smaller loads. However, I’m pretty sure that that’s not always the case; for some, this is just common sense (a common sense that the duck and I, in all our grossness, lack).
Anyway, we’ll still be hanging all our laundry inside, about twice a week, chuckling at the thought of a panty-thief with grandpa’s old underpants on his head far too frequently…

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