So a couple days ago, I wrote this whole post about how houses here are sort of funny – how they’re weirdly run down in many cases, but will have picture perfect gardens. Tiny things – about the size of a single bed, sometimes, with trees like oversized bonzai and layouts like ukiyo-e woodblock print. There are beautiful roofs made of shiny black tiles with tips that curl just slightly upwards – a more subtle version of the Pagoda-style temple roof that’s so iconic.

And I went around with my trusty camera to get visual proof of this weirdness, and discovered it was totally false.

It’s not that the same house is both run down and perfectly maintained – it’s that one house is run down, and is approximately 5cm from another house which has been kept up. 5cm being a generous space allowance. I would call the houses “row houses” except that my experience with those – a la Liverpool, and London – implies a set of homes with identical construction, layout, and visual style, with differences added by various owners in terms of trim color and style. They’re usually brick, too.

It’s very haphazard here. The houses will be – or seem to be, from the outside – not at all the same, while simultaneously being attached to each other. The wall guarding them from the outside will be different. Sometimes, they will not be perfectly aligned with the street, so that they hit the road at a slight angle – all the houses lined up as though somebody laid a row of Dominos in a smooth line, and then tilted them 20 degrees to the side.

It’s made even more messy looking by the frequent use of corrugated iron as a building substance. Sometimes, it began life painted and has become rusted over time – and sometimes it seems to never have had paint at all. The rust stains everything around it with with creeping brown. Residential buildings often have vertical siding – something I personally hate – and it seems like the kind of siding you can’t actually repaint. Over time, this too gets water stained and weirdly discolored. Some of these have lovely gardens, and some of them … don’t.

But then other houses are perfect. I kind of want one. (Except for how there is no way in which I am ready to be a homeowner yet, with all the responsibility that entails. It took me 2 MONTHS to buy a dustbuster and broom and toilet brush.)

Pictorial Evidence:

http://picasaweb.google.com/allisonborst/BuildingsOfShinminato

Advertisements