The house owners of the city of Kyoto, especially those who live in Machiya townhouses, have a unique manner when sweeping the street in front of the house.

First, timing.
You are supposed to sweep the street as early as possible in the morning, before breakfast of course, ideally before your neighbors do. (as if it is some kind of competition.)

Second, range.
You are expected to sweep in front of 2 houses next to yours, also.
Not in full width but about 90cm (length of half a tatami) from the border.

This width varies by the relation you have with your neighbors.
If you are good friends with your neighbor to the right, you can go more than 90cm,
if your neighbor to your left is someone you want nothing to do with, you can sweep up to exactly 90cm and not 1 inch more.

In summer, by the way, you sprinkle water where you have swept. It is an act of Uchimizu.

During very humid and unbearable summer in Kyoto, this Uchimizu cools down the air a little and the wet street gives cool feeling from eyes, also.

The act of Uchimizu, in Shintoism, is believed to purify the spot.
For religious Kyotoite, perhaps this is the main reason of doing it….


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