Here is a pic of Tetsu waxing the floor yesterday. Yes, he is down on his hands and knees. When he's not helping me this is how I do it too. We do not own a mop though I guess I have seen them in the stores (you know the fiber ones, never seen the sponge ones.)
When I first came to Japan and wanted to be of service to the church I attended I started by helping clean weekly. Most Japanese churches are very small and the cleaning is done in turns by the members (which reminds me, tomorrow is my turn at church this month.) We would move all the pews to one side and then get down on our hands and knees with a rag and wipe down the sanctuary floor. And I wasn't even very good at that. To show you how pitiful I was at rag and bucket work, I had to have someone teach me how to wring a rag! Did you know there is a right and a wrong way? I can remember industriously wiping the church floor and trying to wring out my rag and some lady clucked her tongue and showed me the correct way to do it. (If you are right handed you hold the rag in your left hand with the wrist facing upwards, grab the rag with the right hand, also wrist facing upwards and twist in opposite directions.) I don't know why this still sticks in my head. Probably because I felt so idiotic that I didn't know how to wring a rag and I still don't know if I'm the only dummy or if this is a skill that is not taught to American kids... My mother has never been considered a great housekeeper...
Even children at the elementary schools clean the classrooms in the same way and they do a sort of run while pushing a rag on the floor in front of them. I don't think kids help out and do this at home very much but it is a common way to start or end the school day (I can't remember if it is done before or after classes.) The gymnasium will be cleaned this way as will the tatami mats after judo or kendo (sword fighting) practice. Picture from the Internet
And here is a link to a post I wrote about rags and how they are made-up in Japan. Yep, this is what we used yesterday too!