[The American Years]

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Greetings from Japan. Welcome to my own self-induced version of March Madness. I have a lot to write, and we have one month left before we leave. So I've decided to try to post once a day during this last month. Small posts. Little things. Boring things. Rather, boringer things than usual. I'm going to make up for my previous lack of quality by bombarding you with a metric boatload of quantity. Brace yourselves. You've been warned. Tsunami is a Japanese word, you know.

Today's topic, double doors. Most offices in Japan have double glass doors at the entrance. My own company's buildings where I work have such doors at each entrance, and the entrance from the common areas (where the gargle is... see previous posts) to where the desks are. Not so strange, right? Well, there is something odd. With very few exceptions, one of the two swinging glass doors is latched in place. As you enter from the outside, it's the door on your left which will be fixed. The right hand one works, the left doesn't.

I noticed that some Japanese-owned businesses in the states have the same set up on their doors to the outside. And I haven't figured it out yet. I had gotten used to it, almost so I didn't notice. And then a colleague came on a business trip here and they kept trying to open a non-functioning door. So I took notice and have tried to figure it out.

Now it's time for Eric Thomas, cultural interpreter, to theorize. I am likely wrong, but here goes. I think it comes from the Japanese pocket sliding doors that are common in traditional Japanese architecture. You need two doors to open up to get furniture in and out. But then for people to come and go, you just want the one door to work. You latch or nail the other one in place. If you didn't, closing one side would knock the other door off position, and you would end up needing two hands to being the sliding doors together.

So maybe people got used to it, and that's why they fix one side of the glass swinging doors. Maybe. Others in the audience are welcome to offer your theories.


Some photos.


A car that is famous among fans of Japanese cars. It's the Nissan Skyline. It would pass for a muscle car, and has a devoted following. Maybe like the Mustang in America? Not available in the States yet, but I've heard it might make it over there sometime soon. For now it's forbidden fruit. Slightly older and brand new versions.


Until tomorrow...

1 comment:

Giddy said...

Quality Shmality. We, your faithful readers, will gladly take quantity over quality....by chance alone you're likely to come up with some good stuff if you write every day!! We'll be hanging on every word for the rest of the month! (No pressure...)

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