Sunday, 21 October 2012

Tatami Mold

mold on Japanese straw mat
Tatami naturally regulate humidity, but in a disused room this quickly invites mold
When the new batch of JET Programme participants arrived this summer I helped out with their orientation, giving a talk about daily life including dealing with humidity. Then I came home to discover that the tatami in my spare room were covered in mould. What a fraud I am!
My house has a gorgeous Japanese style room that we aren’t using.
Japanese Room With Carvings of Cranes
None of our furniture in Japanese style and it seems like a waste of the décor to use the room as a study or TV room. We joked about keeping it for the sole purpose of composing haiku on rainy days (it looks out into the Japanese part of the garden) or playing mah-jong. So far we haven’t done either, and we keep the doors shut to stop Kuri from eating the tatami. As I should have been aware, these are the ideal conditions for mould to flourish. At first I thought that the blotches were shadows, but when the underside of my feet turned green I realised that we had a serious mould problem.
I sprayed it with barely diluted white vinegar and carefully wiped it down with an old towel.

Vinegar is like magic! Cleans anything and tastes good too!
Will not be using this as a towel any more.
It worked well, but ideally I would have lifted the tatami up and set it outside to sun. The weather has been too unstable lately with typhoons hitting every other weekend to risk it though, so I settled for leaving the garden doors open as often as possible to let the sun in and the air circulate.

Much better.
Sadly the vinegar dressing hasn’t dampened Kuri’s enthusiasm for the tatami…
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