A report in the New York Times says young Japanese architects are designing small houses that are more open than the typical introverted approach.
Apparently it is due to American influence that the country is learning the joys of open-plan design. As an example, it shows a scheme by the wonderfully named Atelier Bow-Wow for journalist Akira Nagae built on three storeys around an atrium. It is described as 'rethinking the shoe box', but there is surely a hint of the traditional in the fact that while Mr Nagae works in a book-lined study sunk four feet into the ground, he 'still hears his wife padding about in the third-floor kitchen, calling friends or making bowls of udon'. Oops!