Monday, October 10, 2011

No. 6: From building a house to renovating a house (October 10, 2011)

The household appliance industry keeps close watch on the development of housing. The average number of a household was 4.1 people 50 years ago, while it is merely 2.5 people at present. Single households and two-people households have a combined share of more than 60% of all households in Japan. Life inside a house is changing.

The number of houses mattered most in the period of high economic. Numerous housing complexes were built to satisfy the increasing population in the high economic growth period. In the days of dwindling birthrate and aging population, however, people naturally place importance on the interior of a house and rethink what roles a house should play for the future. Ongoing research on smart house and eco house aiming at reducing energy consumption facilitates these trends. An electric vehicle is a storage battery as much as it is a means of transport.

You have to take off your shoes when you enter a Japanese house, and this practice is rather strange for foreign people. However, it is creating lots of business opportunities. For example, when you walk on a floor carpet without shoes, you can give various kinds of information on your body, such as pulse, blood pressure, weight, and body temperature, directly to the floor carpet through your soles, and a sensor in the floor carpet transmits such pieces of information to a hospital automatically for health checkup. Lighting fixtures can be part of a ceiling, while information equipment like TV can be part of a wall.

Traditionally, a Japanese house can be characterized by aesthetic feeling based on harmony. This can be found in the tea ceremony and traditional flower arrangement. In addition, the door of each house faces the street to enhance the communication with neighbors on the street. As the aging society develops, renovating a house increases the presence at a market because the aged have enough financial resource to renovate their houses to their satisfaction.

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