You might be interested in this recent article in the Japan Times, “A Winter’s Tale: Cold Homes, Poor Lives in Wealthy Japan.” It’s written by an Italian guy who’s settled in Japan. The article is rather funny and very critical, and includes the following:
“Japan, on the other hand, may still be the world’s No. 3 economic power, but all too often its people seem to lead relatively poor lives, spending their whole day stressing out on the job, getting drunk afterwards, then going back to houses so small that the washing machine has to sit on the balcony or outside the front door.”
I don’t totally agree; I happen to think that small houses do not equate with a low standard of living. (although the work-life culture here DOES astound me) But I think it provides a nice peek into the tough winters here, and a counterbalance to some of my recent comments. Enjoy!