Ask Ava: Loud Neighbors

Dear Ms Hart,


The people in the apartment next to me have a television. A loud television.  A loud television that they seem to watch only late at night. Unfortunately this television resides in the room that shares a wall with my bedroom. 

I first noticed it in October when I originally thought my neighbors were just a loud couple who argued a lot.  Then I began to distinguish certain speech patterns and even background music, suggesting either a REALLY animated arguing couple or a late-night television program, probably a game show judging by all the annoying jingles.

The problem used to only occur two or three days during the week and the TV didn’t come on until about midnight (which was good motivation for me to try to get to sleep before then).  Now, however, it’s on every night, starting around 10:30 pm and blasting out for hours.  I swear it’s gotten louder and often it involves music as well, like club music.  It’s enough to keep me awake and I’m forced to wear earplugs.  I feel like I am once again living in a college dorm (without the benefit of a 24-hr dining hall).  I’ve never met these neighbors, I suspect because they recover from their late night TV sessions by sleeping all day. Why don’t they sleep at night like normal people?! What is the best way to approach this situation while still being culturally sensitive???


Yours in earnest,

Yawning in Yabu


Dear Yawning,

I pity your enforced insomnia. It is, however, part and parcel of living in a Japanese apartment and, as such, an optimist would encourage you to embrace the life of the night owl. Perhaps you could join your obnoxious neighbours for a film night and educate them in viewing options that won’t make your ears bleed. It would, I suppose, be charitable to save them from the asininity of their current selection.

On the other hand, the realist in me encourages you to spend as little time as possible in your cardboard box. Whilst you may not have the carbohydrate heavy luxury of a college canteen, Japan is the home of late night ramen and other more questionable, and significantly better soundproofed, overnight establishments. Of course your budget may not stretch to that many nights of hedonistic escape, so for those when you must return home, I suggest a little healthy competition with your neighbours. Nothing says “you’re keeping me awake” quite like vacuuming at 3am.

As you have not, thus far, approached the reprobates in question directly, I must assume you fear confrontation. Your final option, therefore, is to demonstrate your own sound system by playing Modest Mouse’s appropriate “Paper Thin Walls” on a loop. They may or may not take the hint, but the constant repetition will eventually force them either to approach you themselves – thereby opening the dialogue you yourself are afraid of – or to move apartments. In the meantime you should invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, lest you drive yourself crazy with your passive aggressive record repetition.

From the comfort of a detached abode,

Ava Hart


HT: The opinions expressed in this article are solely 
those of the original author and intended for entertainment. 
Any advice is taken at your own risk. There is a 
fine line between being independent and a social pariah.



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