Although this is not a common topic between individuals, it is an important part of living. No matter how much you dodge it, laundry is one of those chores that will eventually have to be completed. Laundry in Japan is much like most other places except for one thing; the dryer. In the United States most areas of living have a washer and dryer unfortunately in Japan there is less space so there might not be room for both. For these situations there are washers that have built in dryers to save space. These washer/dryer combos pose the issue of not actually drying clothes. As someone that came from the United States it is foreign to me that the dryers in most apartments and houses I have seen are non existent or exist as a setting on the washer itself. The idea of this, while very interesting and intriguing, does not work as intended. In most cases it seems that the “dryer” only spin dries and does not add heat. The result is that the clothes just don’t dry they end up moist and needing to be hung anyway. In some cases even setting the drying mode for as long as 3 hours does not leave the clothes dry.
In Tokyo this does not seem to be an issue but rather nothing more than the normal way of life. Walking across Tokyo and it is easy to see that the residents seem to just hang all their laundry outside before starting their day. Allowing their clothes to dry throughout the day. Unfortunately this becomes problematic during typhoon season or during rain storms. The only solution that seems to be available for this dilemma is to hang dry your clothes. There are said to be aides to this in the form of machines. These look like a small air conditioner that can be placed under your clothes and will blow air directly at the clothes to dry them. Sadly this has its own set of issues noticeably the space needed inside in order to hang clothes, and the amount of time it takes to dry the clothes. Nonetheless this seems to be the best answer for this dilemma, as I have been told by the few Japanese people I have been able to speak with.
When asking other foreign students about laundry on the other hand I got mostly the same response; “Laundry is the same, and the machine is easy to use, but there are no dryers.” This Issue seems common among most students but there is a small amount of students in share houses that have a pay for use of a dryer. These cases are few and far between, based on a study of around 30 students only 2 students had actual dryers both being a communal machine and pay for use. Another important note is that there is a really severe lack of laundromats here. In the United States we have laundromats around towns for the public but it seems like in Japan or at least in Tokyo that there are only public dry cleaners and not laundromats. When this is added to the fact that Tokyo tends to have unpredictable weather patterns, where rain can appear even on the sunniest of days without warning, making it difficult to consistently complete laundry.
In the land where the best video games are made and electronics are all the craze, It might just be a matter of time until a better drying solution is found. We live in a world where the computers at home are crammed into a device the size of your hand yet we still have trouble getting clothes dry in a reasonable amount of time. Perhaps the solution is already here and we just haven’t seen it or heard about it. Perhaps it is something being worked on as I write this blog. The answers to this are unknown to me and remain questions. However in order to achieve the answers to this, we must learn to ask. How is your experience with laundry in Japan?