Sunday, September 13, 2009

Feline/Canine Border: The Girl of 2DK (#7)

This is what I saw looking down from my back balcony. All the back balconies (or porches, on the ground floor) were set up for washing machines and separate spin-dry machines. No dryers. Even in the 1990's, clothes were hung on lines and dryers were only for rich people. The cat belonged to one neighbor and the dog another, but they knew where the border was and reinforced it with hissing and barking. Of course, when I stepped outside with my camera, they both looked up at me.

From American Fuji, p. 46: "Gaby woke to the boisterous churning of the washing machine on her neighbor's balcony, separated from her own balcony by a thin metal partition. When they both did laundry, she and her neighbor stood with their shoulders less than a foot apart, but the partition between them kept them from seeing each other, and they remained strangers. Privacy depended on context in Japan. It was all right to wear pajamas on your back balcony; even if your neighbors spotted you, they weren't supposed to look there. But you had to be fully dressed to bring your newspaper in your front door, the legitimate realm of public scrutiny."

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