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gate gap phenomenon

The gate gap phenomenon refers to when a gate has been placed in front of a house but lacks an adjoining fence or wall, causing a passer-by to wonder "why?".

It's an increasingly common site on the streets of Osaka, and remains a complete mystery to those who stumble across it.

Here's how it should be: a superbly designed front gate, built in the traditional fashion, with two stone walls nestling nicely on either side.

But it just ain't happening for some gates....

An oversight on the part of the designer, perhaps? Do visitors to this house open the gate, walk through and close it behind them, or just walk recklessly around it?

Another front gate in dire need of a wall.

Locked to ensure the gate can not be opened. However, anyone wishing to gain access to the area behind the gate can simply step around it.

Not a bad effort. Looks lovely, but once again, it begs the question: "What's the bloody point of that?"
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On Saturday, 19 May, 2007, Blogger koolgeek said:

LoL! This is really funny...  

On Saturday, 19 May, 2007, Blogger Kristian said:

Impressive ... ;-) :-)  

On Saturday, 19 May, 2007, Anonymous Nicole said:

Clearly, this is an example of the Japanese taking a western idea, such as a gate, and Japanifying it.

Some might use the word 'ruining' somewhere in there as well.  

On Sunday, 20 May, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said:

I guess they might keep out really drunk people!  

On Sunday, 20 May, 2007, Anonymous Maureen said:

How funny! A gate is obviously very important to the Japanese -and it must have special meaning to them.  

On Sunday, 20 May, 2007, Anonymous sgcharbor said:



On Sunday, 20 May, 2007, Blogger bogue said:

Personally I agree with you, gate nonsense, however my wife and Guru of All Things Japanese says it is a psychological thing to signify the difference between 'inside' and 'outside' the homestead - or something like that...

Nope, gate nonsense  

On Monday, 21 May, 2007, Anonymous K said:

The gate clarifies where main entrance is.
There is no functional meaning even if the key to the gate is closed. By locking the gate「It of us is absent now. Please do not enter the house. 」The expression of the will is done.
We Japanese follow the expression of the will extremely obediently. As for such a person, the name is printed in several days in the newspaper though there is a person who doesn't follow it very uncommonly.  

On Tuesday, 22 May, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said:

The gate also encourages people to enter the house through the correct cardinal direction - it's part of Feng Shui (風水).

At our old house, the driveway was to the North (BAD) of the genkan. So, the actual walkway (very short at about 3 meters) ran from the genkan to the street parallel to the driveway, and we had one of those "strange" gates with no sides. The entrance to our house from the street was then from the West (GOOD).

So, although we could have easily walked from the driveway to the genkan after parking the car (we often did), we could also go back out on the street and enter the walk from the West.

We had commercial space for a school) attached to the back of the house; the entrance was from the South (VERY GOOD). We did well with our business.  

On Tuesday, 22 May, 2007, Blogger Invader Stu said:

Maybe it is actually a magic portal. By walking through it instead of around it you end up some where else.  

On Wednesday, 23 May, 2007, Blogger tornados28 said:

I have also seen this in Otawara in Tochigi Prefecture North of Tokyo. I also had wondered about it and I had thought a particular home I saw with this had just never finished building their wall, like maybe they had run out of money or something.  

On Wednesday, 23 May, 2007, Anonymous The Gatekeeper said:

I have also not seen this in Ottawa in Ontario Province North of Toronto.  

On Thursday, 24 May, 2007, Blogger tornados28 said:


On Friday, 25 May, 2007, Anonymous Steebu said:

Obviously another example of Japan's advanced technological breakthroughs.The open side is invisibly protected by a powerful force-field..useful for repelling intruders.The gate is just so your Granny knows where to walk when she visits and doesn't get zapped.  

On Friday, 25 May, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said:

Ah yes, that old problem. Frazzled grannies. The place is littered with them.  

On Sunday, 27 May, 2007, Blogger Nationwide said:

Aren't they just for American kids to vault over?  

On Monday, 11 June, 2007, Blogger Gaijin Tonic said:

Maybe it's symbolic, like a "Rashomon." But I love the fact that that they lock them.
Another odd thing I've noticed in Japan is that train stations don't have dustbins so terrorists can put bombs in them, but they still have hundreds of lockers. This would only thwart a particularly thrifty terrorist who doesn't want to spend 200 yen on a locker.  

On Saturday, 07 July, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said:

That was just too funny! I'm rolling over with laughter - thanks so much for that!  

On Tuesday, 06 November, 2007, Blogger Dan said:

Some secrets should never be told, but a Japanese bottle of Sennen no Hibiki is currently telling me that, the gate actual is where those who are welcome tread through. Those who chose to take the 'easy route' are instantly reduced to a pile of ashes by twin turbine electron accelerator guns hidden on the unseen side of the gate.  

On Sunday, 16 March, 2008, Blogger Evil Tofu said:

The US is building a 750 mile long fence across the Mexican border, leaving a 1250 mile long gap.  

On Monday, 07 December, 2009, Anonymous Shane said:

I like how the second and third gates actually have spots for a keycard. Locking the gate loses its symbolism when a would-be intruder can't tell the difference between open and closed.  

On Monday, 28 December, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said:

My house has the perfect example of a gate needing a wall. Everyone who visits walks around the gate to get in the house. I need to build a wall but am totally inept with regards to that kind of thing. Any out there good at walling.  

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