There are two major times of the year when Japanese people do a major clean of EVERYTHING. The first is before the new year - so you can welcome in the New Year with a completely new start. The second is when the ancestors of Japanese people return to visit the living - during the Obon festival in August. Unfortunately they coincide with the coldest time of the year and the hottest time of the year and I never feel inclined to do cleaning at either time. Of course now that the pressure is off I have finally got into the cleaning spirit and have spent the last few days getting the kitchen cleaned (anyone who visits is forced to look in the fridge!) and today I started on the children's rooms. In general they are left to clean them by themselves, but my daughter's room was starting to set off pollution alarms so I decided I would spend ONE hour this morning getting it into a slightly more livable state. Unfortunately the first hour passed, the second hour passed and despite continual cleaning it still didn't look like I'd made much of a dent. Fortunately Katy and Megan came to prevent me doing more in the afternoon so it is still looking very much like a rubbish dump. Unfortunately I can't really say too much to her.... I have memories of literally piling all the things dumped around my room into a huge pile in the middle of my floor and then slowly putting them all away when I was a child. And, despite spending a few days cleaning my room it is still has piles everywhere right now. I'm thinking that I may need to make some incentives for us all to keep it clean.... either that or start looking for a house cleaner!