|Whether you have a full bathroom with a tub, |
or just an oil drum outside (like Goku's family in
Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might), you are not supposed to
wash yourself in the bath. The tub is exclusively for soaking.
|See the way Kaoru's supporting herself with her feet? |
Imagine having to do that your entire life.
Well, that's how it always used to be. Back when most Japanese only lived in traditional style houses (unless they were peasants living in huts) they didn't have chairs (mostly) until the westerners started coming in, and even after the Meiji restoration, it wasn't likely they'd be found most places outside of western style buildings. Even the Shogun and the emperor sat on diases that were really just raised platforms. As a result, the proper way to sit on the floor is an important part of traditional Japanese etiquette (especially so back when you had to show proper respect to your feudal lord). It's gotten a little less stringent over time, but it used to be you absolutely had to sit on your knees in formal situations, though guys were permitted to sit cross-legged during meals. For women, it used to be especially strict (as shown here in this shot from Rurouni Kenshin), before sitting mermaid style (with your legs to the side) became a viable option. And yes, the traditional position can be very hard on your knees for protracted periods of time.
|Granted, most visitors don't come to your house |
by attacking you and then collapsing from hunger.
It largely depends on the situation. If a person lives in a house where most family members are permanent residents, it's become more popular to have a bed and a bedroom to put it on. However, the traditional futon does still have a lot of appeal, as it's an excellent space saver and has plenty of utility. For instance, you will often find futons at traditional inns and onsens, where it's easy and convenient to just lay the bed out on the floor so that visitors can sleep on it, and then have the single hotel room cleared in the day time for normal use. It's also popular among apartment dwellers as many apartments don't have a lot of space, since they can just stow the futon in a closet during the daytime. Naturally, more traditional homes are a lot more likely to have futons exclusively, since they are a lot less likely to clash with the ambiance like a mostly immovable western style bed might. Perhaps the most common use for futons is what we use our couches for a lot of the time. A temporary bed for lodgers and visitors to our homes. Like Makoto from anime Kanon when Yuuichi's relatives allowed her to stay with them for a while.
|Even in a house where no one wears shoes, |
there's still plenty of house cleaning to do.
Like a lot schools require the use of inside shoes, unless you are in a western style home that specifically allows it, outside shoes are not permitted inside. Once again, this dates back to the days when tatami mats were the most common floor coverings and could be easily ruined by carelessly walking on them with any kind of footgear. While it's less of a prevalent problem then in more public spaces, there is still a chance that everyday life will still end up with things on the floor, be it food items from the kitchen, children's toys and who knows what else. Not to mention, anyone who likes to wear socks all the time can see that they will wear out eventually. As a result, slippers are considered the norm in any household, and most houses will keep spar pairs for visitors. Naturally that doesn't mean the house doesn't still need to be maintained as you can see in this shot here from Cardcaptor Sakura
|Never hang flammable objects over the stove kids, |
otherwise you'll light the apartment on fire
and then your dead soul might be consigned to hell.
This has been an Inuyasha public service announcement.
Probably. However, back in the feudal period, almost all houses were open to the outside to some degree, be it the little huts that most peasants lived in or the sprawling palaces of the daimyo. During the warmer months that could be quite pleasant especially before air conditioning, but that doesn't mean that they didn't have some way to keep warm. They used to use the good old traditional fire pit. Still, even today, most houses aren't centrally heated, and most folks use kerosene heaters to heat individual rooms. Either that, or they have a kotatsu (a special table with a heating element underneath it and a blanket built into it) that they use to stay warm. You have to be careful with the heaters though, because, as one poor little girl found out in the anime Inuyasha, putting burnable items over a heater can have dire consequences.
|The Araide family opted for more decorative panels, |
but many families just opt for glass doors or
simply translucent screens.
Yes. I expect they probably aren't the most efficient material for keeping in heat. however, back in the day, paper and wood was all most folks had, unless they wanted to rely on more permanent structures, and in a land plagued by earthquakes, it was better to have a house that could easily be repaired and was less likely to hurt someone than it was to have a house built like a rock, that could easily crash down on someone during a natural disaster. That being said, people do have ways of keeping some homes warm. Nowadays it is common for homeowners to put up temporary clear wallscreens or windows along the outer walkways of traditional houses so that they can be sheltered from the outside but still maintain the ambiance. You can see this here in this screen shot from Detective Conan.
Carry on folks. Tune in next week!
Images taken from Cardcaptor Sakura, Detective Conan, Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might, Inuyasha, Kanon, and Rurouni Kenshin