As described in “The Bedding During the Modern Times”, the Japanese people have a fascination with things like handy tools.
Here are handy tools designed for futons which are loved by the Japanese people.
Futon Drying Machine
In Japan, we have the custom of drying futons outdoors. Many of tourists visiting Japan for the first time might think such practice is a little bit odd. But it is natural for us to do it. Quite a few people in Japan feel uncomfortable using futons without putting them in the sun on a daily basis. So, the rainy season is a disturbing season for us. During the rainy season, futons get damp easily and we feel uncomfortable about it.
In such a season, we often use a futon drying machine to remove moisture from futons.
We place a futon-sized inflatable mat between the shiki-buton and the kake-buton, and attach a hose from the dryer to the opening of the mat and then force warm air to circulate inside the mat for 1 hour while completely drying futons out. After being dried with the machine, futons become soft and fluffy as if they were dried in the sunshine. Some futon dryers have an additional function designed to combat dust mites, which is fascinating to some cleanliness-obsessed people.
The futon drying machine can perform well when used with tatami mats. It doesn’t work when used with the wooden floor. If you use the machine with wooden floor, dew condensation might occur because of the warm air from the dryer and futons might get damp further.
It is said the Japanese people are exceptionally passionate about cleanliness and avoiding germs. For this reason, products touted as anti-bacterial sell well here in Japan. Lately, futon cleaners have been popular with hygiene-conscious folks in Japan. Although many of the items have been imported from Korea or the UK, those who love the items the most would be Japanese, I guess.
In general, the futon cleaners have various additional handy functions, which conventional vacuum cleaners don’t have. Some futon cleaners have the vibrating pads to remove the dirt and dust from futons effectively or the ultraviolet sterilizer to eliminate dust mites on the surface of futons. Once those sterilized allergenic materials are collected in the cleaner’s dustbin, the filter would prevent them escaping from the container. The futon cleaner with the ultraviolet sterilizer would have much the same effect as sunlight disinfection, so it would be quite helpful during the rainy season.
A Vacuum Cleaner Nozzle for Futon
Before the appearance of futon cleaners, a vacuum cleaner nozzle designed for futons was a popular item. The nozzle with a roller attached is smoothly movable on the surface of futons, which makes it easier to remove the dirt or dust mites from futons. You can attach it to the cleaner easily or put it away in a closet when not in use, so it has been still loved by some people.
A Vacuum Storage Bag for Futons
This is an airtight plastic bag to store a futon. First, put the futon into the bag and then suck the air out of the bag with a vacuum cleaner to compress the futon and conserve the space to store it. Quite a few people use this vacuum storage bag to compress futons when the seasons change. It is important to remove mold fungus from futons by washing before using the vacuum storage bag. This is because mold fungus can grow even in the vacuum state.
Once you compress your futon tightly, it takes time to go back to the original state even if you want to use it soon. So it would be good not to compress futons so tightly in some cases.
It’s a futon clip. When we air out a futon outdoors, we usually use the handy tool to prevent the futon dropping or blowing off by a strong wind. The crab-claw-like tool can hold onto even thick futons tightly.
It’s a futon beater. Many people use the item to beat dirt and dust out of a futon while airing. In fact, it is better not to do it, because beating a futon might cause the deterioration of the cotton batting. But a number of people in the apartment area are still practicing the custom for the purpose of removal of the dirt or solution of stress. Anyway this typical handy tool is available at a supermarket or a hundred-yen store.
It’s a platform made of wooden slats like a duckboard. This open slatted item is really breathable, so we usually set the item in place in the oshiire and allow the air to circulate well to prevent humidity inside of the closet from increasing too much.
In Japan, this item has been used in the various places such as baths, connecting corridors, the rooftop drying areas like balconies of today, and veranda-like porch called engawa, because of its properties of quick-drying. Lately, breathable sunoko beds are also available.
Joshitsu (Dehumidification) Sheets for futons
When you lay out futons directly on the wooden floor, you can use this dehumidification sheet to prevent the mold from occurring. While sleeping, dew condensation caused by nightly sweats and body heats tends to accumulate on the surface of the floor, which may encourage the mold growth.
As for tatami mats, they can absorb the moisture during night and release it during the day, so it is less likely that mold growth will occur. But the wooden floor can’t.
Therefore, it might be good to use the item when you lay out futons directly on the wooden floor.
You can also use this sheet in the oshiire to decrease the humidity inside of oshiire.
It’s a huggable pillow. In Japan, we used to have the custom of sleeping on our back, so there was no need for huggable pillows designed for those who lie on their side. As futons became soft, an increasing number of people came to sleep on their side. As a result of it, the huggable pillows became popular. These days, a huggable pillow with a picture of a popular animation character printed on the side or an ergonomically-designed one seems to be very popular.
It’s a shoulder-pad blanket, which looks like an extremely-high-cut vest and is supposed to be used while sleeping. Since traditional Japanese houses are without central heating, a sleeping room is generally cold unless an air conditioner is installed. This item would be helpful to keep the neck warm while sleeping in the unheated room. It is also recommended for those who want to save on the heating bill.