Category Archives: In The Home

Rice in Japan

With rice being a staple of the Japanese diet for hundreds of years, to the point where it was the basis of currency in the Tokugawa era, there is a lot of importance and variety to rice in Japan. For much of Japan’s history rice was grown by peasants for the use of upper classes. Though they grew it, they lived on lesser grains and grasses and it became a food they might only eat on special occasions or festivals.

I Don’t Want a Bed

Sleeping in Japan isn’t as straight forward as you might expect. Houses in Japan have unique features that have led to differences in the appliances and things people use in the home. One of the most significant differences is the way people in Japan traditionally sleep. With raised floors and often muddy outdoors, it is understandable that removing shoes before entering one’s house became commonplace, and then the rule. Since they are raised off the ground and cleaner without boots tracking

Japanese Houses

Japan’s unique history has led to culture that is not surprisingly unique in the world. In Japan, natural disasters and local weather has led to housing adapted for the resources and needs of the people. While new materials have been included in modern building, many of the aesthetics developed for traditional housing are still carried into the modern age. Since a lot of Japanese culture revolves around the home, this post will be a base for many others in the

Magnesium Light – A Clean, Green Lightsource

Have you ever heard of an Mg Battery? Magnesium is a common element, in fact it’s even the 8th most common element.  When made into small particles, it burns with a bright light, is very light, and is easily recycled. Magnesium can also be obtained from seawater.  Recently, the Okinawa Deep Sea Water Research Institute completed the creation of an Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion power plant.  That plant uses mineral-rich cold water from deep in the ocean to drive an


Just as stoves are different in Japan, compared to those in America, so too are ovens.  Many of the reasons are the same, but Japan’s history plays its role here too.  Japanese ovens are usually small electric affairs rather than built-in behemoths.  As with many Japanese appliances, ovens are packed with features.  Mine steams, microwaves, grills, and has several oven settings all in one compact box.  The size fits with the smaller kitchens and lack of space in some Japanese houses.

Stoves and How we Power Them

This is a continuation of the exploration of Japanese Culture by examining the major appliances we use every day. Stoves If you’ve ever been in a Japanese kitchen, one of the most obvious differences you’ll find is the stove.  In just about every American house I’ve seen, the ranges are large with at least four burners.  Electric is probably dominate, but there are areas where gas is used instead.  Nowadays they are often more likely to be flat panel warmers

Culture in the Things we Buy

Long ago Japan was known in the West as China was known until only a few years ago, as makers of cheap products that would quickly break.  After years of its manufacturing sector suffering under the stereotype, Japanese industries invested in quality control procedures and research that eventually won it the generally positive reputation it has today.  Toyota went from a foreign brand few Americans would buy to the leader in hybrid technology. This image is still alive today, though