08 June, 2017

No street names

Only big roads have names in this country. The subject of our address came up recently with our boys and we explained (again) that the three numbers 1-19-10 in our address are 
  • the section of our suburb, 
  • the block number (and not a block as we'd know it in Australia, this is just a group of houses, our block has only about 12 houses on it and it takes the boys about 30 seconds to run around it), and 
  • A big intersection in our area: both streets have names.
  • the house number. 
The next word in our address is our suburb and then the city (Higashikurume) and then the prefecture (Tokyo). No street name at all.

In a way I'm glad the streets don't have names, there would be so many in Tokyo that it would be hard to work with. Instead we rely on landmarks (and Google maps).

I read in a book once that the way addresses are done in Japan is quite reflective of the culture. In the past you could only find an address if you were in the "inside group" i.e. family and close friends. It reinforces the "in" and "out" concepts in Japanese culture (see here for a good explanation).

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