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1.日本のアパート Apartments in Japan
(1)建物の種類 Types of Apartment Buildings

There are 3 types of apartment buildings in Japan.

アパート(Apart/Apartment) 木造又は軽量鉄骨造の建物。主に2階以下。隣の音がよく聞こえる場合あり。
This type of building is made of wood, or light steel. It is usually only two stories or less. Walls are thin, and you can usually hear noise from neighbors' homes.
マンション(Mansion) 3階以上の建物で、鉄骨・鉄筋コンクリート造り。アパートより賃料は高め。
This type of building tends to have three or more stories, and be made of a steel framework and reinforced concrete. Rent is typically higher than the 'apato'.
貸家(Kashiya) IKKODATEともいう。貸出しているHOUSE
This type of apartment building is also called 'ikkodate', and is a house on a lease or loan.

(2)間取の種類 About Different Floor Plans

Some typical Japanese style floor plans are outlined below.

各図面は一例です。Please see the following examples:

内    容(Details)

This type of apartment usually has a bedroom/kitchen combination, and a bath/toilet combination room. The average size is 16m2〜25m2.

Although the size of the apartment is almost identical to a 1ROOM, in a 1K the bedroom and kitchen are seperated.

A 1DK has a bedroom, and a kitchen/dining room combination. The overall size is slightly larger than a 1ROOM or 1K.

A 1LDK has a seperated bedroom and living room. The common size of an apartment of this type is 40m2-60m2.
1LDKに収納スペース(歩けるほどの広さ)がついている部屋。A 1SLDK is almost identical to a 1LDK room, except that is has a large walk-in size closet.
数字はお部屋の数、Kはキッチン、Dはダイニング、Lはリビング,SはSTORAGE を示しています。 それぞれの組み合わせにより部屋の間取を表現します。例) 2SDK、3LKなど
In names of the rooms listed above, the number reperesents the number of rooms in the apartment. .K means kitchen. D is dining room, L is living room, and S is storage. Floor plans are described with different combinations of these. For example, 2SDK is a two-room apartment with dining, kitchen, and large closet space.
3.室内床の種類 Types of Flooring

日本には数種類の床のタイプがあります。Japanese apartments may have one of several types of flooring:

種  類(Type)
内  容(Details)
畳 Tatami 柔道でもおなじみのたたみ。代表的な日本スタイルの部屋。イグサという植物を編んで作られている。イグサの香りは鎮静作用があり、畳みの部屋にいると心が落ち着く。防音性がある。If you are familiar with Judo, you may have heard of 'tatami'. It is the traditional type of flooring used in Japan, and is a kinitted mat made of a plant called Igusa (rush). Igusa is said to have a gentle calming scent, so tatami rooms are ideal for relaxing in. As an added benifit, tatami is soundproof!
フローリング Flooring 木板でできている床。見た目はきれいだが、傷つきやすく防音効果があまり期待できない。'Flooring' is made of wooden board. Although is tends to look neat, it scratches easily, and it not soundproof.
クッションフロアCushioned Floor 表面がビニールで覆われているため、火に弱い反面、耐水性は優れている。爪を立てると薄っすらと跡がつく柔らかい床。
Cushioned floor is floorboard covered in a type of plastic. Since it is rather soft, it doesn't hold up well in the event of a fire. On the plus side, it is waterproof.
じゅうたん Carpet 防音効果が高く肌触りが良いが、日本は湿度が高いため、ダニの温床となる心配がある。また、汚れやすく賃貸物件にはあまり使われない。
Carpeting is effectively soundproof and, of course, very comfortable. On the down side, since Japan is so humid, carpet owners need to be wary of ticks and other bugs breeding in their flooring. Carpet is also very hard to keep clean. These two reasons are why rental rooms with carpeting are so rarely found in Japan.
4.広さの単位 Apartment Measurments
There are generally 3 measuring units used to measure apartments in Japan.

単  位
内  容
平方メートルです。 Square meter
1坪=約3.3m2, 2畳 1 tsubo=about 3.3m2 or 2 jo
1畳=約1.65m2、0.5坪 1 JO=about 1.65m2、0.5 tsubo
Singing the praises of TATAMI!
In Japan, the most popular types of flooring have always been wood 'flooring' and tatami mat. As Japan is becoming more modernized (and in becoming so, more Westernized) more and more people are begining to choose wood flooring over the traditional tatami. Therefore, the numbers of tatami rooms are dwindling.

But recently, there has been alot of talk about the benifits of tatami flooring! For one, since Tatami insulates heat, a tatami floored room is cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Moreover, tatami mats are easier to clean and far more sanitary than carpet. They are more effectively sound proof than wooden flooring. A Tatami room is very versatile, and can be used as many rooms in one. For example, you can use the room as both bedroom (when you lay out your futon) and dining and living room (when you fold up your futon and set out a table).

So if you have a small apartment without much space, if you have thin walls, or if you have no air conditioner, tatami may be the best choice for you. To get the full experience of living in a Japanese apartment, leave those wooden floors and carpets behind, and do as the Japanese do. Go tatami!
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