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Bringing an acoustic piano to Tokyo 2021/5/12 21:20
Hello, I am looking for a piano advise. I am moving to Tokyo mid Summer. My plan was to take with me my acoustic piano. However, a friend who has lived in Japan in the past told me that the humidity there will destroy my European piano and that if I want to play an acoustic piano in Japan I would have to buy one locally made. Can you comment and advise, please? Many thanks!
by Mira A (guest)  

Re: Bringing an acoustic piano to Tokyo 2021/5/13 08:37
That sounds completely bogus. A well made piano would not be bothered by air humidity. The piano we had for a long time was an iron frame - so how would a bit of air moisture affect that? A wooden frame or cheap piano might need a decent retune once in a while, but it is not like you are submerging it or leaving it outside in the rain.
The international companies/producers ship their products all over the world.
And, Japanese humidity is not actually that high, even in the peak of summer. Other countries are higher.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Bringing an acoustic piano to Tokyo 2021/5/13 10:59
It depends on how it's made and how well it was assembled. Temperature and humidity can affect adhesive (glue) performance, and can cause failure (debond) if not properly chosen. If your piano does not use any glue, then that is one less thing to worry.
by kamahen (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Bringing an acoustic piano to Tokyo 2021/5/13 18:13
Thank you kindly for your answers. The glue seems the be problematic, indeed. I will continue to research the issue, my shippment is planned for the beginning of June...
by Mira A (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Bringing an acoustic piano to Tokyo 2021/5/14 06:50
Ifd be slightly more worried about being able to play it. If you are going to live in an apartment or even in a built up area, the neighbors might not be happy.
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Bringing an acoustic piano to Tokyo 2021/5/14 10:31
Indeed, some apartments do not allow playing musical instruments at all, and even if it was allowed, there might be rules about the time of the day and duration. (Or youfd need to rent one of those apartments that have been built for music school students, with full sound-proofed walls, a few of which Ifve heard of, but not usual.) Most people here electronic pianos.
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Bringing an acoustic piano to Tokyo 2021/5/14 10:43
Yes, I heard most apartment have a no-music-instrument rule, and many municipalities have a restriction about noise. But you said bring, so I think it is ok if you just place it at your home or you live in a music-instrument-ok apartment/house or a house in a remote place that nobody live neaby you. No problem about humidity in general (although your piano still have possibility of damage due to disasters)
by KJ (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Bringing an acoustic piano to Tokyo 2021/5/14 19:02
Acoustic pianos also need to be placed on a floor that has been built strong enough to hold it. But I'm sure the OP is already aware of all those noise and floor issues.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Bringing an acoustic piano to Tokyo 2021/5/15 08:53
Hi
I can't imagine the cost of transporting a piano to Japan. Of course you know there are some excellent Japanese brands. Maybe you don't know that plenty of people play(ed) in Japan and therefore there is a huge secondhand market of underpriced pianos. I would just buy one locally.
A bit of a story...My stepfather plays piano and had come to Japan for my wedding. One day he was a little quiet and when we asked what was wrong it was that he had a concert as soon as he got back and felt he needed to practice. My wife jumped onto the internet and, I kid you not, an hour later we arrived at a non-descript apartment building and retrieved the hidden key. When we walked inside there was a room with 4 full sized quality grand pianos. My stepfather got his practice and we did a bit of karaoke. It was only a few thousand yen for the hour. Now that is trust! That's Japan!
by Ric (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Bringing an acoustic piano to Tokyo 2021/5/15 10:55
Just a little additional advce as you don't seem to know Japan at all because you believe the rumor that Japans humidity is that high. As mentioned above, there seem to be many people who play(ed) the piano in Japan, many kids learn it also. That means many houses and buildings are strong enough, I am sure placing is ok. However, in case you damaged the floor, the floor was scratched for example, your landlord will be charge (unless you live in your own house). If you want to play the acoustic one, how about what we call the street piano ? Or you should buy an electric one, following local custom.
by just advising (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Bringing an acoustic piano to Tokyo 2021/5/16 22:36
Me again. Tokyo IS very humid in summer. It is also very dry in winter. My understanding is that this would have a negative effect on a piano (presumably all strings). It will also affect its tuning.
by Ric (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Bringing an acoustic piano to Tokyo 2021/5/17 00:34
According to Google most pianos should be kept at below 60-70% humidity. Tokyo easily gets into the high 80s and 90s from late July through August. Of course it's not as high as some parts of Asia. Obviously parts of India, China, Malaysia, etc. are more extreme. But it is serious humidity and to say it's not really that high to someone coming from Europe is, I think, potentially misleading/confusing. Most Europeans, even those from the hot parts of Europe, have never experienced climate like they are going to find in Japan during the summer months. This is a fact.

Now, obviously outside is always more humid than inside and it should 100% be possible to set up a room to keep the piano in. So while I think that as long as you use common sense you will avoid damage to your piano, it is definitely still something to think about.

Transporting your piano is obviously another issue. And whether or not you get neighbours who are bothered by your playing is going to be a roll of the dice. I've lived in a building with a pianist before and they are surprisingly very loud. If I were you I would be thinking about possibly buying an electric piano for regular use because particularly during evenings, many people aren't going to want to hear you play.
by LIZ (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Bringing an acoustic piano to Tokyo 2021/5/17 08:58
According to the JMA, average humidity for July is 77% in Tokyo. Some days are higher, some lower, but not excessive.
Certain weather conditions (common ones like fog) have much higher levels. Rainy days are also around the 100% mark (which is why it rains).
Probably people think Tokyo/Kyoto have "high" levels because of the human reaction and perception when combined with heat. A piano will not care if it is 20C or 30C with an 80% humidity level.
In all of this, the cost of bringing a heavy, bulky piano to Japan still seems a major factor. Unless it is an especially valuable instrument (i.e. high quality where it wouldn't be affected by minor changes in ambient conditions) then you could probably buy one locally for less than shipping.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Bringing an acoustic piano to Tokyo 2021/5/17 15:22
Dear all, thank you for your piano- and Japan- tips and enlightening observations. Of what I read, Japan does not seem to be particularly acoustic piano friendly, at least not to expats. I have lived with and played a piano in Africa, USA, China and Europe and, following the standard rules, never have I felt noisy and intrusive, nor have I had problems with neighbors and landlords or issues like thin walls or floors that might not be gstrong enough.h For the record, my little piano is neither amazing nor expensive, and I donft need to play it all the time or even every day: the reason I travel with my piano is because I love it and it loves me back; we are loyal to each other (and my boss pays for the shipment). However, while my initial concern was humidity, it appears there might be a handful of other perturbing issues, so I shall reconsider. Thanks again for the heads up.
by Mira A (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Bringing an acoustic piano to Tokyo 2021/5/17 19:20
there are many pianos kept well in that climate,
it is ok if you think it is impossible, laughing at this fact though.
by www (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Bringing an acoustic piano to Tokyo 2021/5/17 19:54
I think not-that high just means that it is not impossible to bring/keep the piano, I don't think it misleads as if Japan is dryer, and I agree that high-humidity generally said by people reaction. High for people and high for pianos are different. Anyway still not good condition for pianos, indeed, but it is true many pianos are being kept well.
by www (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Bringing an acoustic piano to Tokyo 2021/5/17 22:16
Thanks for the feedback. Humidity would not be a problem as long as the instrument is kept in an air-conditioned room 24/7. Perhaps your boss can finance the air-conditioning. Of course, a traditional "kura" storage would be another great option, if you have no financial issues.

For the record, when I was growing up in the 60s (which was before portable electric pianos became common), it was the norm for children to take piano lessons. There would be piano teachers in every neighborhood, and it was very common for a middle-class household to have an upright piano in the living room. This was in the days when it was still common for any house in Tokyo to have a yard.

Now that the population has greatly increased, not many homes in the city have yards or gardens. Your window/wall would be literally less than arm-reaching distance from your neighbor. When we lived in an urban condo in the 90s, our neighbor played the piano, but only at a certain hour of the day, and she was awfully good! I think she may have been using some sort of a silencer, and I say this because she was always "suddenly" good at playing new pieces of music.

Meanwhile, rural areas tend to provide more freedom to artists. Rural areas are keen to attract newcomers to increase the critically low population. I know a bunch of rock musicians who chose to live in one of those areas, and when they plugged in with their windows closed, a local old-timer came a long and told them to play with the windows opened since the weather is hot.

As for floors, I don't think many people realize it, but when we had our summer house built, we wanted to store our huge collection of books in one closet. The carpenter told us that he made the floor of the closet especially strong to hold the books, and he told us that he used a method that is commonly used to make floors to hold pianos. Sure enough, when we moved from the condo to a new house, we had a good look at the blueprint and noticed that a piece of the floor is being built stronger than other parts. The real-estate agent told us that if we have heavy furniture, it's better to put it on those stronger parts of the floor.

I hope you find a cozy corner for your piano. Unlike some other posters, I've been optimistic about it.
by Uco rate this post as useful

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