I have no idea if this is just a one off, or even if this is something that is in Japan... but here's a photo showing the name of the family in the house - as opposed to a house number.
In the past, a family surname would denote what clan you were from, and could mean the difference between friend or foe.
People in Japan often refer to themselves first by their surname (family name): "Watashi-wa Tanaka-desu"... which translates to "I am Tanaka."
That sorta stuff doesn't work with me, seeing as how my surname also easily translates to a first name... but I do like the idea of a surname being used in place of a house number.
I doubt something like this would ever catch on, however.
Without even going into the privacy issues most societies have, in Japan, there sure are a lot of Tanaka's. And Suzuki's... Holy crap, Suzuki is the western equivalent of Smith and/or Jones, or the Chinese Lee.
It's bad enough in a small village of say 20,000 people in Japan where there could easily be 100 people with the surname of Tanaka (for example)... cut add in the fact that in many a place outside of the larger cities, street signs denoting what street, road or avenue you are approaching are not in use.
The streets HAVE names... it's just not denoted as such (usually) with a marker like a street sign.
Imagine being a postal worker having to deliver mail.
"Let's see... I have to deliver this letter to Ryoichi Tanaka at 47 Ishidori Street in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken.
"Hmmm... there's a postal code of 327... so I know it's in THIS part of Ohtawara... I really wish I had memorized all of those streets on the map they give us during our initiation... okay... Ishidori Street is a couple of roads over from the post office... good... now thank goodness houses have street numbers on them... waitamninute... they don't anymore....
"They have family names on them... now which Tanaka house is it... is this one? Or maybe it's the one across the street... or the one further down the street... or the one further down the street across the street... this job sucks."
And that's why having a family surname on a house instead of a house number will never catch on in Japan.
By the way... just by looking at the finish on the wood panels of the house, we know that this is not your common ordinary house in Japan. That is a spectacular finish...
Unlike this blog,