Build and Re-build
Posted by Jim Ivanoff
May 8th, 2009
Golden Week in Japan is comprised of several different national holidays all lumped together. It has the dual purpose of giving workers a long holiday while also increasing factory productivity as it is more efficient to shutdown for a week rather than on many individual days. This was Golden Week for 2009 so I took the opportunity to get out of Tokyo and take the kids to see their grandparents in Aichi prefecture.
While I was there, I drove past a large electronics retailer much like a Future Shop that I have bought numerous devices from over the years. I remember being so happy when it opened in 1999 as there weren't any other such large discounters in the area before. Therefore, I was quite surprised to see that it had been torn down. The same company is now building an even larger store on the same spot. With a growing population in the area, the store must have been doing very well.
People are always surprised to learn that the average age of a home in Japan is only 27 years. They just assume that the houses are poorly built and thus don't last. However, it is often the case that the owners' needs change and they decide to rebuild rather than renovate. A 2×4 house in my neighbourhood that was barely 5 years old was torn down and replaced by a large concrete home when the owner's elderly parents moved in. I guess that didn't have many good memories in the house that they wanted to preserve. I have a lot of good memories from shopping for Sony gear in that store though.