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the narrow house

Many a time I've heard a Japanese person telling a gaijin in English that their house is "narrow", and many a time I've heard the gaijin explain that, "No, you mean small, not narrow." Apparently when a Japanese person is speaking Japanese, as they often do, and they want to say that their house is small, they use the word "semai".

However, this word means "narrow" when translated. So you can see why they say "narrow", right? - except if they happen to be living in THIS house....from the front it looks roomy and brick-like....

....but from the side it looks bloody narrow and metal-like
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On Wednesday, 23 March, 2005, Blogger Lewis said:

Oh my God, that's hilarious! Who on earth decided to build somthing like that!  

On Wednesday, 13 April, 2005, Blogger Skippy-san said:

Welcome to my world in Japan....  

On Wednesday, 13 April, 2005, Blogger Skippy-san said:

One other point too,

When Japanese use semai, they are using it in this context to be a contrast to the word hiroi(広い)。

For some reason Japanese do not refer to houses as Ookii or Chisai
(大きい vs 小さい。) My GF says it has to do with custom. Objects are big or small, things with area are roomy or not.  

On Sunday, 17 April, 2005, Blogger Budi Akbarsjah said:

ai ai ai .....I thought my tiny apartment is "narrow" :)....yikes...how do you live like that...  

On Tuesday, 28 March, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said:

Sideways I`d imagine...  

On Friday, 31 March, 2006, Blogger Davecat said:

Obviously this building is some sort of psychological test. Of what, I have no idea, but nevertheless.  

On Monday, 17 April, 2006, Blogger Gunnella said:

It's a mad mad world!!! ;-)  

On Saturday, 22 April, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said:

You'd think they fill in the gap with atleast another narrow house... this is just for show or something....  

On Friday, 05 May, 2006, Blogger Ordinary Janet said:

Can you spell "claustrophobia"?  

On Monday, 15 May, 2006, Blogger Steph said:

And there I was thinking I'd seen it all in Japan.. nice! Is this in Osaka, I've got to do a pilgrimage here.  

On Friday, 14 July, 2006, Blogger Zen said:

I knew this is an old post, but for someone like me just coming along I will say this. Here in the states, as in CA, USA, there is a town called Alameda. There is a very small ( semai) house like this, next to it is another semai house. They get a lot of people drive by to see them. It had something to do with two brothers, hating each other and fighting over the land. In this case, here perhaps it was all the land the person owned and they wanted their own house.

It could happen  

On Saturday, 16 September, 2006, Blogger Marie said:

You gotta see it to believe it!  

On Saturday, 06 October, 2007, Blogger John Buchanan, Teacher said:

Hello, I live in Osaka, and I want to know where this home is...could you please tell me:

verycoolwinter(@)yahoo.com Thanks, John  

On Friday, 24 July, 2009, Anonymous Kevin said:

I've seen small, but this small. Maybe the ground next to it is for his bulldozer.  

On Wednesday, 09 September, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said:

Eeek. It's like Amsterdam...  

On Wednesday, 30 December, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said:

Isn't this where Sponge Bob lives?  

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