Tearing Down the House


For the past few days there has been a deconstruction job going on a street over from my home. It started on Saturday when I heard smashing glass being crunched into a truck someplace close by. Now it has settled to the sound of saws and that dull thud lumber makes on asphalt.

Houses come and go like trailer homes in Japan. The average life expectancy of a house built today is 20 years. You read that right, 20 YEARS. Kinds of puts decaying teeth on a 30 year flat mortgage doesn’t it?


What that means is that a house is worth 0 after 20 years. My house, built in 1995, is supposed to be worth 0, but I live here and run a business so that is obscured. And the house still looks good. On the other hand houses built five years ago look tired and falling into disrepair ALREADY.

So to hear a house being crunched into toothpicks is a common occurrence here. Of course you could easily argue that older houses are not worth reforming. Termites are a problem here in Ishikawa’s damp environs. But a house down the street, which is older than mine, was renovated and is on the market no for more than the price of my own house (and my house has a bigger plot of land and a much better built house)!

Coming from the States, where you would be lucky to find a NEW house in most places, especially one that was not a modular job, Japanese house rebuilding is dizzying. Often too they tare down an old house and stick 3 houses in the subdivided lot. Staggering at times.

Well I am done observing for the day! Time to teach and English lesson and get to work.

Keep writing, I don’t want to be alone.


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