Shimadzu Estate Garden Pond at Senganen

Water relates very much to lifestyle.

Have you ever heard your parents or others say “Don’t waste water” or “Take a shower within five minutes” to you? We use water to drink, cook, wash our clothes and even in the toilet. If you were not able to use water, you would be in trouble. Water is necessary in our daily life.

In the house we have tap water, a bath, and drinks. Please read on!

Tap Water

In the Bathroom

Water Costs

Water & Local Drinking Habits

Tap Water

In Kagoshima, tap water is drinkable and safe. The national water infrastructure of Japan is reliable and facilities are well-maintained, so the tap water is good quality. The same can be said for Western Australia, thanks to the water supplier. However, there are some differences that you may notice if you visit.

Do you know what “Hardness” of water is? It is a value which shows how much mineral content is in the water. Generally, water we usually use has some minerals such as magnesium, sodium and so on. The amount of these minerals in water affects the taste and our health. What does it mean that minerals influence health? It is that people sometimes feel sick because of differences in hardness of water. In general, people get used to the water hardness which in their region or country. So, if you go to another country, you may get sick because of the hardness which you are not familiar with.

Anyway, hardness of water is decided by the amount of minerals in water and we also divide this into some categories. These numbers are shown in Table 1. For example, soft water is 0-60 mg/L, medium soft water is 60-120 mg/L, hard water is 120-180 mg/L and very hard water is 180 mg/L or more. However, the reference value is different depending on the country.

The water in Kagoshima is 36 mg/L which is categorized as soft water. On the other hand, the water in Perth is 94 mg/L which is included in medium soft water. Thus, people who come from Perth may feel a difference because the water in Kagoshima is a little harder than the water in Perth.

Please understand this difference when you come to Kagoshima. Also, if you feel bad because of hardness of water, no problem. You can buy the water which is close to your country’s water in the supermarket. Supermarkets have some kinds of water so you may find your favorite one.

In the Bathroom

There are some differences between in Kagoshima and in Perth bathrooms.

Please imagine what there is in your bathroom. You may imagine hand washing area, toilet, shower and partition wall in front of the shower area. A Japanese style bathroom has only a bathtub and shower. The toilet is usually separated from the bathroom in most Japanese houses.

Common bathroom designs: Australian en-suite & Japanese wet room

As you can see from the bathroom design, soaking in the bathtub is important for Japanese. Have you ever thought you want to spend a long time in the shower to enjoy feeling pleasant warmth? However, taking a shower for a long time is not good for the environment. The best way to enjoy feeling warm for a long time is soaking in the bath. Some people in Japan soak there even on hot days in summer. Before soaking in bath, they wash their body quickly in the specific washing area. Why do people wash first before getting into the bath? When we wash before getting into the bath, we don’t need to change the bathwater for each family member, so we save water overall.

In addition to bathing at home, people also enjoy going to hot springs. Please check the Leisure page to learn more about hot springs!

Water Costs

Here is a table to compare tap water basic information in Kagoshima with Perth The water price in Perth is more expansive than the water price in Kagoshima city. The reason is related to climate change and population growth in Western Australia.

Water and Local Drinking Habits

If someone asks people in Kagoshima what kind of liquor do you like to drink, most will answer that they love to drink shochu. What is shochu? Shochu is a Japanese traditional distilled spirit. Shochu is made from rice, barley, or sweet potatoes. There are a lot of shochu makers in Kagoshima. Kagoshima has 2000 brands of shochu.

What gives Kagoshima shochu its power?

The answer is clean water. The important ingredients in making shochu are clean water and sweet potatoes (or grain). Why is Kagoshima water clean? It is because of its aquifer layer of shirasu lying underground. This layer is well drained and has too little organic content to grow organisms, but it is a great water filter. If you want to know more about the shirasu aquifer, please visit the Infrastructure page.

Kagoshima soil is not good for growing rice, but it is good for growing many kinds of sweet potatoes which can be used in making shochu. This variety enables us to make distinctive sweet potato shochu. On the other hand, people in Perth love drinking beer and wine. Liquor stores in Perth have a lot of kinds of wine and beer. Beer factories and wineries are located near Perth. Beer is also affected by water. Water accounts for about 90 % of the content of beer. Therefore, the taste of beer is affected by the water which the beer factory makers use. It means that you can enjoy taste of local water from drinks made in your region.

Laws about alcoholic drinks

Do you know the difference in laws regarding alcoholic drinks, between Japan and Australia? Now that you understand about water and drinks, let’s look at some cultural differences by comparing laws. Please take a look at the table below.

As you can see, we can buy alcoholic drinks anywhere in Japan. However, we can’t drive a car after we drink even one milliliter of alcohol. There are many more cultural differences about drinking too. It’s important to learn about them.