Take That, Forces Of Dampness!

Only in Japan would a lack of balconies spawn a whole new category of appliances. Behold the futon dryer!

Used to be, you could walk down any neighborhood street mid-day and see every family’s bedding hung over the balcony to air, secured with giant plastic clamps so they wouldn’t slip off the railing and smother unsuspecting passersby. But modern apartments often lack balconies or are too fancy (No Unsightly Futon Airing Allowed!) that housewives were stymied as to how to wage war on the dampness that is ever-present in Japan.

Appliance makers rushed in to solve the problem, and the result was little units like this one, with air hoses that attach to traditional Japanese bedding to transform tired just-slept-on futons into models of fluffy, un-mildewed, non-clammy perfection.

Read a novel set in Tokyo

A young woman dressed as a Gothic Lolita is found dead in a car with a pair of strangers. But the more Yumi Hata learns about her friend’s death, the more she’s convinced it was murder…read more