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Homes or Apartments Facing the South 2014/4/1 19:07
Hi again! I had another interesting question regarding Japanese lifestyle.

My fiance is moving from Japan to America and we will be getting married within a month after she arrives here. As I am preparing for her coming, which won't be for another four months, she asked me something I never thought of because its something I never paid any attention to when I look for an apartment.

She asked me wherever we live, if I could find an apartment that faced the south. I didn't know of such a thing existed. Of course, I will do whatever I can to accomodate her because she will be my wife and keep her as happy as I can. Can anyone explain to me what that is about? She explained it to me a little bit, but with limited time at her job due to training her replacement these next couple of months, she didn't have enough time to explain in detail. Thank you again for helping me! :)
by GMKR79  

Re: Homes or Apartments Facing the South 2014/4/1 19:57
You will need to ask her again - some people prefer that the entrance of the house does NOT face north, as cold drafts come in in winter when you open the door. You would want some sunlight coming into the room in the morning, so the living room facing east - south might be preferred. Something like that. This is just a general statement. But those are not always adhered to, as you cannot control which way your unit in an apartment building face.

Or she might be into "feng shui" (please look it up on wiki and other sources) based on which she has some specific preferences - like which direction brings her good luck, and things like that.
by AK (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Homes or Apartments Facing the South 2014/4/1 20:25
Thanks for your reply. I know it's not feng shui, but what you said about the sunlight and the cold drafts facing the North was something that she kinda explained. I think she also said something about less molds or something like that, too. Thanks again for helping! :)
by GMKR79 rate this post as useful

Re: Homes or Apartments Facing the South 2014/4/3 19:48
i just saw this on the forum about japanese customs and superstitions...

Sleeping towards the North:
Do not sleep towards the North beacause bodies are laid down like that.
by robocoder rate this post as useful

Re: Homes or Apartments Facing the South 2014/4/3 22:33
I believe it is about "hi-atari" or essentially sun exposure. This is something that Japanese people attach a great deal of importance to, but essentially nobody in the U.S. cares about. Americans are more concerned about what kind of view they have looking out the window, among other things. There are some sound reasons for worrying about having too much or too little sun in a Japanese apartment, but most of those reasons become a non-issue in an apartment with good HVAC and suitable window treatments. Most people pay more attention to draperies than to the magnetic pole when looking at apartments.

Unless she is from Hokkaido, if she is moving to the place you indicated as your home when you registered on Japan Guide (i.e., Minnesota), then I expect she is going to have to make more adjustments than lack of concern about hi-atari in our culture, when it comes to where you live! But it's sweet that you are paying attention to her concerns even though she is too busy to explain things to you. In all likelihood, she will get over the hi-atari thing after living here for a while.
by Uma (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Homes or Apartments Facing the South 2014/4/3 22:56
If you go to Google and search on 日当たり (which is hi-atari) and select "Images" you will get a completely non-verbal random overview of Japanese thoughts and feelings about hi-atari. It's kind of an interesting exercise...
by Uma (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Homes or Apartments Facing the South 2014/4/3 23:11
Thank you for your tips and statements, Uma! No, she is not from Hokkaido, but from Osaka. She already sees the extreme cold temperatures here and she is a bit concerned about that. It's not as bad as it seems, and my Japanese tutor, who is originally from Hiroshima, told me the same thing with her experience living here (but I know people's traits can be different). I'll google that, and take a look. Thanks so much for your thoughtful input. She is moving and sacrificing everything in Japan for me, and I am eternally grateful. The least I can do is make her feel as comfortable as I can and keep her as happy as I can! :)
by GMKR79 rate this post as useful

Re: Homes or Apartments Facing the South 2014/4/3 23:53
I thought it was common for people in the Northern Hemisphere to prefer a "minami-muki (south-facing)" room. I used to live in southern California and our house had was pretty much minami-muki.

The south side and east side is always comfy during the day. You should make sure there are bigger windows on those sides and more outdoor space on those sides.

The sun comes up from the east and sunshine is slanted. You don't get that shiney cozy sun on the north side of a house/room. Few flowers grow, too.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Homes or Apartments Facing the South 2014/4/4 10:45
European painters always chose studios with big windows facing North because the light doesn't have too much light at one time and not enough at other times, with big shadows, as on the other orientations.

I once lived in an apartment with several windows on the North side (and facing a mountain and a bit of sea) and it is true!

The light on the North side is lovely during the day (obviously on nice days, not in a terrible winter storm..) and I didn't have to close the darkening blinds in the middle of the day, as in the South and West.
by Monkey see (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Homes or Apartments Facing the South 2014/4/5 16:48
Hi! I am from India and happened to be here because my wife and I are planning to visit Japan soon as tourists and wanted to learn more about that fine country.

In India, too, there is a preference for south-facing apartments. This is because in most cases when the entrance is facing south, you have rooms that have an east-west orientation.(There could be exceptions, of course!) And in India we have the ancient system of "Vaasthu", which is comparable to Japanese "hi-atari". And "Vaasthu" recommends an east-west orientation for better sleep quality. (Something to do with the earth's rotational movement, I understand.)
I don't know if your fiance had all this in mind when she wanted a south-facing apartment.
Be that as it may, here's wishing the two of you a long and happily married life!
--balan
by Balan (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Homes or Apartments Facing the South 2014/4/7 16:42
For me, "minami-muki" (facing south) is a must everywhere I go as I hate cold. Also in Japan, when I started looking for an appartment, I had minami-muki as an essential demand.
Japanese appartments tend to be really cold in the winter because there is no such thing as central heating. If you live in a "mokuzou" (wooden house), it's even worse, you get all the wind in. On the other side, Japanese winter, at least along the Pacific coast, is quite sunny, so having a south-facing room means you will not need to heat it up at daytime during the winter.
by AlexanderStankov rate this post as useful

Re: Homes or Apartments Facing the South 2014/4/7 23:59
It's not as bad as it seems? Chicago just went through a Minnesota-style winter, and people were so cranky it reminded me of Ghostbusters 2!

Seriously, you should ask her for more information. In winter, sun exposure is really nice, but that is not the same thing as facing the south.

Btw, when she moves there try to get her to embrace the winters - skating, skiing, etc. Before that, make sure she gets the best in winter clothing.
by ChicagoMike rate this post as useful

Re: Homes or Apartments Facing the South 2014/4/8 07:19
Uco, Belan, MonkeySee, and Alexander, thank you all for your inputs, advices, thoughts, and wishes. I appreciate them all!

ChicagoMike, I pretty much bursted out laughing when you mentioned Ghostbusters 2. Let me rephrase what I had stated then. We basically had NORTHERN Minnesota-type weather because even here in the Twin Cities, it's never been this cold. I lived up north for almost nine years (I'm talking about by the Canadian border), and that was normal to get that kind of weather out there, but not down here, which is probably why I stated what I said before. Anyway, I just got used to it, though I don't sit outside waiting for a bus or train either, so maybe that's why it didn't bother me as much. However, yeah, I'm glad she's coming here in August and not in the middle of an Arctic blast like that Winter Vortex they were talking about this past winter, and at least she'll be able to slowly get used to it. I did manage to get an apartment that does face south just last week. Hopefully it will be to her liking. Thanks for your thoughts too, Mike. As a native New Yorker, trust me, turning on my car extra early in the morning just so it can warm up got me cranky, lol!
by GMKR79 rate this post as useful

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