Thursday, January 17, 2013
It's easy to look at modern Japanese apartments and marvel over the technological advancements. Most have video intercoms to see who's at the front door, and some now have intercoms to allow someone taking a shower to call a partner in the apartment to come bring a clean towel or more shampoo. There's track lighting, built-in dishwashers, fiber optic internet and computer-controlled heated toilet seats. However...
My apartment has single pane windows with metal frames. Even in Kagoshima, where it never gets down to freezing, the frames get cold enough to form condensation inside. This results in water dripping onto the floor, rotting of adjacent woodwork, and possibly mold build up. Even if you have a dehumidifier running (which will cause your electric bill to skyrocket), there'll still be condensation build up. You have to wipe the windows and frames every day, maybe even a few times a day.
Recently, I was looking at a brand new mansion (the Japanese version of a condo), where you're expected to sign a 20-30 year contract and the cost is the same as a small house in the U.S. Along with all the nifty features that come with a condo, they had the exact same single-pane metal framed windows. I asked the real estate agent about this, complaining about the water build up, and his answer was "all apartments and mansions in Japan are built this way. What can you do about it?" Sigh.