As the weather gets a little bit colder and colder here in Yosano, I have been amazed at all of the little ways to stay warm in Japan. Winters in America, at least in the state of Utah, get much colder than here in Yosano. The temperature is usually around -6 to -12 degrees celsius! But, while colder, it is difficult to find a building in America without central heating. So, during the winter, we become used to only being cold outside, while home, school, or work is always nice and warm. While buildings in Japan don’t often have the same heating as buildings in America do, Japan has many more options for staying warm. As winter started in Yosano this last month, I realized how different it is here!
While preparing for Opening Ceremonies for the new term at Koyo Junior High School, I got to use カイロ (kairo) for the first time in my life! America has hand warmers similar to カイロ here, but American hand warmers don’t have a sticky side to stick to your clothing. Excitedly, I got to wear a couple of カイロ inside of my suit jacket while watching the Koyo Junior High opening ceremonies in the cold gymnasium. It was so warm!
And there is more than just カイロ. In Japan, we also have kotatsu! Before coming to Japan, I had never even seen a kotatsu table before. Using one now, I can’t believe they’re not used in America! The feeling of coming home at the end of the day and escaping from the cold by sitting under the warm kotatsu is a really great feeling.
Besides those two main options for heating, I have also been using an electric heated rug and an electric heated blanket at my apartment. The lack of central heating in Japanese buildings makes me feel cold more often than I would back in America, but these many heating options that aren’t available outside of Japan really make surviving in winter a comfortable experience.
I definitely prefer the heat of summer over the cold of winter, but all these options help make winter a little more fun and bearable for me. I’m looking forward to trying new ways to stay warm as it cools down outside, but I’m already excited for summertime when it’s hot outside!