(Blood pressure: 122/84. That’s not too bad!)
I took a very hot bath this morning, followed by a cool shower. It was so nice. I feel very refreshed and comfortable, sitting here on my lovely Aeron chair, wrapped in a towel.
While I bathed, I considered what Sean and I discussed last night. Our rent is set to go up in June. He says that if he can’t talk them down any, we may as well look at getting a house. (A house!) So while I enjoyed my bath, I thought about how nice it would be to design my own floorplan, to integrate Japanese elements into the house. A major thing I want is a large Japanese-style bathroom. I haven’t decided how large I want the tub to be; it’s between a regular Japanese tub (roughly half the length of a US tub, and twice the height), and a more onsen/spa-like tub. There are merits to each. I can take baths more frequently in a smaller tub, because it uses less water. But a large tub lends itself to group bathing, which is a great experience. I don’t know if I could convince people who come over to take group baths or not, though :> Beyond the tub, the bathroom would have a completely tiled floor with drainage, and two showering stations with mirrors, wooden stools, water buckets, and shower sprayers that had holsters at two different heights, one for standing and one for sitting. Very authentic!
The bathroom is something I definitely want, but there are other things that would be nice as well. For example, I would like to have at least one tatami room, preferably two that are adjacent so that I can slide the screens apart to make one large room. These rooms would have the requisite sliding-door closets, filled with lovely things like futon and a blanket for the kotatsu. (Must have a kotatsu!) I would also want a little hibachi grill to use on the table during the summer, and since everyone would be sitting on the floor I’d have to invest in some zabuton.
I’d also like at least part of the Japanese-style side of the house to be openable to the outside, with sliding rice paper screens.
Of course, I want certain American amenities, too. I foresee the Japanese bath being on the ground floor. Obviously, there would need to be a regular bath there, too, for guests. (The toilet and sink are not traditionally placed in the same room as the bath in a Japanese house, so I would end up with a sink and toilet nook, a Japanese bath, and then on the other end of the house a regular bathroom with everything all in one place, and at least a shower.)
I also want a sleek, modern, convenient American-style kitchen, done in golden wood and stainless steel with black marble countertops, with an island and a flat-top stove and a refrigerator/freezer with an automatic ice cube and water dispenser. This kitchen would have a bar area that overlooked the great room, which would have a very tall ceiling, skylights, and hardwood flooring. This room would essentially be the center of the house, and from it would branch off the Japanese side and the American side. I also envision steps going downstairs to a gaming/computer room/den.
But for all that, I don’t really want a big house. Big houses are harder to clean. I want a compact, yet airy design that will allow people to flow smoothly from one spot to the next, but won’t be so gargantuan that crisis cleaning couldn’t be done in a day. (Is this possible?)
Anyway, there are problems with trying to implement Japanese designs in a house here. For one, resalability. If we ever moved–and knowing me, that’s not unlikely–who would buy this house? Would we miraculously be able to keep it as a vacation home? While that’s what I would probably prefer, we can’t assume that will be the case.
The other little item is cost. It would be prohibitively expensive to do everything I want in a first house, but even incorporating small elements, like the Japanese bath, would be costly. I don’t even want to think about how expensive it is to maintain a tatami room. :(
So for now, I think I’m just dreaming :) It would be so nice to have the option of Japanese style elements in an American house…