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Japanese Companies’ Dormitory

With Tokyo’s high cost of housing, dormitories offer low rents which is good for employees. The accommodations are relatively small but modest enough to accommodate a single occupancy. However in some instances, some employees shares only one room. Once married, the occupant may transfer to subsidized family housing. The only disadvantage of the dorms is that, they are located farther in the city. A company dorm is usually given to long-time company employees. This is sometimes given as reward for valued employees who did not rise to senior management with a few additional years on the company payroll beyond the mandatory retirement age.
At the dorm’s entrance, there is a caretaker window where you could receive mail, pick up dry cleaning, and other services. The names of the occupants are listed in a board with the name plate for each person opposite to their room number assigned. The red side would mean the occupant is out and the green side would mean the occupant is in. Each occupant is also giving a shoe box area where thy kept their shoes and slippers in. In Japan, shoes should only be worn outside the dormitory and slippers should be worn inside the dorm. Just a tip for visitors who come to Japan, a step up is usually a signal that you need to take off your shoes. The entrance or “genkan” is always a step or two lower than the floor of the house.
The dorm had no cafeteria, but it had a kitchen and a TV room. Each floor had a large common bathroom. Like a Japanese-style inn, the shower and o-furo (bath), is located in the first floor. It is communal; about two feet deep so that you could sit in it neck deep and soak. Men and women have separate baths. To foreigners, it is difficult to share the bath with others naked.  Eventually, foreigners would soon love the o-furo, or the sento (public bath) and onsen (hot spring bath) as much as the Japanese do.
Dormitories had curfew time usually around 11:00 pm. By this time, the front gate closed and the door is locked. However, the back door is left unlocked all night. This is the perfect example of the Japanese concepts of honne (true feeling/intention) and tatemae (a person’s facade). The front door is the tatemae that said everyone had to be home by 11:00 pm or suffer the consequences. The back door was the honne that recognized that the occupants are old enough to take care of themselves.

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