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Life

Why tiny buildings are big in Japan

Small structures are an integral part of the urban fabric

A glass-enclosed car dealer's showroom occupies a wedge-shaped building in Tokyo's Meguro Ward. (Photo by Edward M. Gomez)

TOKYO -- Mother always said, "You can never be too rich or too thin -- or have too much kitchen-counter or closet space." She also advised, "Be ambitious. Think big!" Mother was wrong.

Just ask the property owners, architects and inventive construction managers in Tokyo and other Japanese cities who, over the years, have concocted some of the most unusual -- and intriguing -- structures to be found anywhere in the world.

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