|Japanese twin tub washing machine. This|
is a much newer model than the one I used.
An American friend of mine in Osaka insisted on bringing a big, American-style washer and dryer with her to Japan. Most people don't have room for a washer inside their home, so it gets put outside, in back of the house, or on the veranda, for apartments.
Like most other American washers, hers was fully automatic, with an agitator. You could do something like 10-14 pounds of clothes in about 40 minutes, and then dry the clothes in about an hour. Her washer and dryer were both out in a sheltered area of her back yard, and she noticed her Japanese next-door neighbor lady surreptitiously peering over the fence, watching her as she did her laundry. One day the husband came out to watch as my friend calmly did her laundry. A week or so later, the lady struck up a conversation with my friend as she did her laundry.
"Can you use your dryer even when it's raining?" the neighbor asked.
My American friend told her that she could.
"How long does it take you to do your wash?" she wanted to know.
My friend told her that she could get three loads of clothes washed and dried in one morning.
"How many clothes can you put into one load?"
My friend demonstrated.
The neighbor lady gasped. "What do you do with all your free time?" she asked.
*** *** *** *** ***
My apartment in Osaka had two verandas: one was on an outer wall of the building, and the other one was in an inner, recessed area that was protected from the rain, but which didn't get any direct sunlight. I aired out my sleeping mats (futon) on the outer veranda, and did my laundry on the inner one. I had only a washer, no dryer, and mine was a Japanese model, very tiny, with two tubs. It was not automatic, and it was not hooked up to a water source. By tiny, I mean it was about half the size (length and width) of a standard American washer, and maybe two-thirds the height. It washed no more than about 4.5 pounds of clothes at any one time, so just about a third of a full load in an American washer. That meant that for every load an American housewife did, I did three loads.
|Inside the twin tub washer. Wash clothes on the left|
and spin them dry on the right.
|You can see the small windows at the top of these larger|
ones on this veranda. They have separate little sliding
glasspanes and no screens.
|Laundry poles suspended from the |
I didn't have a clothes line. I had a pole that was on large hooks suspended from the veranda above mine. For t-shirts and things with sleeves, I threaded one end of the pole through both sleeves. For slacks, I folded the pants and hung them up over the pole. I used special clothes pins meant to be used with the thick pole. The close-up pictures of poles I found on the web show metallic poles, but we used poles made of plastic when I was there.
|Special clothespin for poles|
Depending on the weather and how humid it was outdoors, the laundry could take a long, long time to dry. If I left my clothes on the line after sundown, the dew would moisten them again, and I had to leave them out and let them dry the next day or bring them in and drape them all over everything until they dried out. The idea was to wait for a day when the weather was expected to be nice and sunny and get my laundry done early in the morning, so that the clothes would be dry by late afternoon. I still couldn't get more than three or four loads done in one day, and remember that this is about the same as one large load of laundry in the United States.
|Clothes threaded on a pole or hung on a little frame.|
Very few Japanese have a large back yard like this.
| High-rise apartments in Japan with laundry and bedding|
hanging out to dry or freshen.