As you all know, I live in an apartment complex. And there is a striking difference between most apartment buildings in Japan and the U.S. that I just recently realized thanks to one of my neighbors. In the U.S., once you enter an apartment building, you are completely enclosed. Individual apartments are accessed through hallways on each floor and you probably interact quite often with your neighbor across the hall. But in Japan, things are a little different. The majority of apartment buildings in Japan, mine included, have front doors that are open to the outside. Individual apartments are accessed through walkways around the outside of the building.
Now, the reason that I realized this difference comes from my neighbor who lives on the same floor,
but at the opposite end of the building. This neighbor is infamous for leaving gross-looking, and oftentimes gross-smelling things outside their door.In the states, that would never fly because your whole hallway would smell and the neighbors would complain real quickly about it. But in Japan, it’s easy to put your burnt pan or smelly trash outside until you have time to deal with it. And this particular neighbor takes full advantage of it, especially in the spring and summer. The picture on the right is the most recent activity outside their door, which is relatively unremarkable.
Last year they had crayfish that they kept in a nasty, dirty tank outside their door and even halfway down the flight of stairs that’s right outside their door. These crayfish were left outside for at least a week. I don’t know if they were left to die, or if it was some kind of a punishment to the kid who forgot to clean the tank. But, anytime I walked by, the crayfish would go crazy and start flipping around in their tank. Talk about strange neighbors.