Thursday, December 20, 2007

Why is my nose cold?

When I first thought about moving to Japan I never thought about the weather. My students/friends told me that it was humid in the summer (which holy crap it is....that is another story) but I was told the winters are mild and nothing like what I was used to in Canada. That much is true.

The first winter I swear I only wore a sweater and most of the time I was ok. What they didn't tell me is that even though it does get below zero occasionally and it is cold enough to snow 2 or 3 times in a season, there is no central heat. This is a big deal. My first few winters, I was fine outside but freezing inside. They don't have central heat but they do have other heaters and ways to stay warm but I have to say that when you are used to central heat and every room being basically the same temperature, it just isn't the same. I would be at home freezing, air conditioner on (air conditioners are also heaters), blanket on and still cold. I would be sitting there wondering "why is my nose cold? I'm inside...this isn't right!"

The first winter I went to a friend's house. Her family (like many if not most) used a "kotatsu". A "kotatsu" is an electric table. It consists of a table with an electric heater attached to the underside of the table. The kotatsu is usually set on a thin futon, like a throw rug. A second futon, this one thicker, like a comforter, is placed over the kotatsu table, with the table top placed on top of that futon. The electric heater attached to the underside of the table heats the space under the comforter, and anyone who happens to be snuggled under it.It gets pretty toasty under there. This family also used a "hot carpet" so I'm sitting on the hot carpet and my lower half is sitting under the table....I was hot and cold at the same time. My a$$ felt like it was on fire and my nose felt like an ice cube!!!

Now....maybe you think that isn't so imagine being naked in the bathroom with no heat and in many cases air seeping through cracks and crevices or in some cases windows wide open---in December---and it's snowing outside!!! Shocking!!!

I've had friends say that in the mornings they can see their breath. I haven't experienced that but sometimes it is colder in my apartment than it is outside.

Now I am used to it and don't mind it and in fact I have problems when I go to Canada in the winter. I wake up sweating in the middle of the night since I'm not used to a warm room and warm blankets.

It sure is amazing what you can get used to!!

1 comment:

Winnie said...

I know what you mean! So desu ne? When I lived in Tokyo I used to live on space heaters! It was strange but my apartment didn't have a tatami room (which I regret because I like it and it's not like I can find that here...) But when I'm sitting at my desk all the time, I would always have the space heater on under the desk and my feet would be nice and toasty and I would be wearing like a big winter jacket on top! It was Sugoi Samui desu! I looked sooooooo weird, but like you know, that's what it takes to get through the winter over there. And the funny thing is, I think my body adapted to those conditions so that even after 4 years of leaving Japan, every winter now, my nose is always cold! I have central heating back in the states now and my body and my face would be warm but my nose would always be an ice cube, it really freaks out all my friends. HAHAH! They keep telling me that I don't get circulation in my nose and that one day it's just going to fall off.......I really hope that doesn't happen....I'm kinda attached to this nose... o_O
hehe. And on a side note: did you ever notice the Japanese attitude towards us "gaijins"? I'm asian but since I don't look Nihonjin, people aren't very nice to me all the time, but the minute I open my mouth and speak english to them, everyone's like "Oh! Sugoi! Eigo Dekimasu ka? America-jin desu ka?" It's like they do a whole 180 once I speak english. But some older Nihonjin still don't like America-Jin. It's so hit or miss over there....


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