First, a quick disclaimer: I was born and raised in the United States. As a result, when I make observations about Japan they are based on—and contrasted with—my own experience living in the U.S. Needless to say, my life experiences may or may not be similar to your own. If you haven't lived in the U.S. or known anyone who has, you may not find some of my observations to be very surprising at all; in fact, you may find my assumptions to be more interesting! Nevertheless, I hope that at least some of what I write here will be informative to you.
I have lived in Japan for nearly nine months now, and I think that I am finally ready to share several observations that I've made about domestic life here. Note that I am explicitly focusing on (what are to me) interesting aspects of Japanese residences; I will not discuss cultural differences between Japan and the U.S. per se. Although it's true that I have immersed myself in the Japanese language and culture from abroad for over twelve years, I don't feel qualified to pontificate on the Japanese people, language, and culture; I couldn't do the subjects justice, nor would I wish to expend the requisite time and effort to do so if I could. No, I'm more interested in shedding some light on what it's like to live in a Japanese home, to illustrate a number of small ways in which the trappings of everyday life differ between Japan and the United States.