LWIF EP9: Washing Dishes in Japan

Hello World! Finally Aiko washes some dishes. Not as easy as her home in Canada, which had a dishwasher 😉

While I do find dishwashers convenient, I like how Japanese sinks are large and that the drains are designed to catch food bits. I think this makes draining bowls of noodles or cereal easier as you don’t have to try and strain the liquid out manually. You can just dump it and clean the filter / basket later. Not all sinks have such a big basket like ours though. For those sinks, it’s quite common to place a small basket in the sink that can be used for throwing garbage in.

For soaking dishes, a lot of people use a metal bow to throw things into. Plugging up the sink and filling it up with water isn’t common.

If you’re tall, you may not like the Japanese sinks, as they are lower than ones found in North America. For short people like me, and kids, it’s great though!

Since there’s usually no raised partition between the sink and counter (they’re normally a single unit) it’s easy to push liquids into the sink. Futhermore, since there’s not normally a ton of counter space in Japanese kitchens, you can get cutting boards that span the sink to give you more space. Since there’s no raised partition, a cutting board across the sink can be quite stable.

Our unit is older (about 20 years old), but the standard on new sinks is to have a removable faucet that can act as a spray wand.

Since there’s a lack of counter space, this also means that sometimes there’s no room to leave a drying rack on the counter top. If you visit stores that sell kitchen supplies, you’ll notice that there’s a lot of racks and baskets that are designed to go vertical and/or stick to the wall.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve heard that throwing out garbage is very different in Japan, especially recycling, takes a lot of work?

Yes, recycling can be a bit of work. I’d try and explain it, but that would be a whole video (which we’re planning on doing).

How difficult is it buying/installing an oven?

I’ve never actually seen a North American style oven in a Japanese home before, but I’m sure it can be done. What’s much more common is having a toaster oven. For those who want something bigger / fancier, there are mini-oven units, that are kind of like big microwaves (and sometimes do have a microwave function). Some of them have convection units in them.