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I purchased a used house. No, it was not an 空き家(akiya); a 50-something-year-old woman lived there, but she needed money. Since I paid upfront, the process happened very quickly, and the previous owner did not have much time to prepare. Thus, she asked if she could leave some items in the house, such as appliances, and I agreed.
It turns out that when I took possession of the property, I was prepared to clean it, but I arrived at a place that seemed to have been hit by a hurricane.
I will not go into the merits of this lady's hygiene standards, as this is quite common in Japan. However, I was dumbfounded by the details:
The house was built in June 1991. Underneath the bed, there was a newspaper from 1992. When I lifted it off the floor, there was no dust underneath it. The stuck-on dust had the shape of the newspaper.
As I began to remove some items from the top of the refrigerator, I found a box of cereal... I found it strange that it was closed and looked very old, and upon checking the manufacturing date, I was surprised: October 1991. This box had been on top of a refrigerator, in a house where four people lived (a couple with two children) for 32 years, and no one, at any time, decided to clean the house?
These cases of hoarders we see are often related to depression and other mental health disorders, but could the entire family suffer from a mental disorder in this case? Or is the hygiene standard in Japan truly that low?
Has anyone else experienced a similar situation? Am I exaggerating? Or has the 大掃除 culture already provided clues about hygiene culture?
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