3 in 30 - 2000.05.27
When space is limited, people tend to define their personal space more carefully. In America's New England, this sense was expressed by Robert Frost in the poem "Mending Wall" that suggested "Good fences make good neighbors." Sociological implications aside, the beauty and variety of fences and walls in Japan is one of the things we have noticed as being different than—say Colorado.
This wall is between our house and the Takayama san's (the neighbors) house. As I sit here at my desk, inside the house, it is perhaps twelve feet (two meters) from where I am. From the wall to their house, it is perhaps three feet (one meter.) It is made of about 4" cement block topped with a "capstone" of cast concrete.
The entry gate to the house where we live displays three kinds of wall. On the left is cement block topped by a metal panel and screen wall, while on the right is a cast concrete wall faced with stone. The gate is welded metal square tubing. Other gates for the house have been replaced with aluminum gates, but this one must have been built when the house was built.
There is a fence completely surrounding the property on which our house sits, and this is the wall and gate at the back of the house. The back wall is hollow concrete block topped with simple cement.
It is an inexpensive method of wall building and while our rent seems high, we are not in the "high rent" district. When this wall was built, it faced a spur of a train line so its appearance was less than important. Later, it faced a dirt roadway, then a dirt walkway. Now it faces a bicycle parking and pedestrian walk, so it could stand to be improved.