Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ode to the kotatsu

Ah yes, the kotatsu - what a wonderful invention! I'd say that I'll kiss the guy who came up with the idea, but apparently he's some ancient nameless Chinese guy, so besides the fact that he's dust by now and that'd be disgusting I have the feeling that searching for his remains in the first place would be an exercise in futility.

What was I talking about again? Oh yeah! The kotatsu and how it makes my otherwise freezing Durgicile nice and toasty! My toes are piping hot right now, like some Bearded Papa's Cream Puffs, and it's all thanks to the wonderous kotatsu. I broke this bad boy out today for the first time, and I honestly don't know what I was waiting for! It's the best thing since cheese, and that's saying a lot.

Elsewhere in the current winterfication project that is my apartment, I went out and got some bubble wrap to cover my windows. Why you ask? Because they haven't caught onto the whole concept of double-paned windows and proper sealing practices, let alone centralized heating. So if I turn on the heater with the windows wrapped, at least it stays warm for a little bit and I don't lose it all in the draft. The sad thing is that there's a whole section of bubble wrap and window sealing kits in stores - they realize it's a problem, so why don't they fix it? Ah well.

Some other nice little things I've heard to look forward to:

  • water pipes freezing: apparently it's a good idea to leave your faucet dripping overnight on really cold nights, and to turn off your water if you leave for extended periods of time.
  • frozen toothpaste(!!): and get this - someone's solution to this was to put it in the fridge overnight!!
  • in extreme cases... frozen toilets: I shit you not, someone's solution to this was to pour vodka or some other potent form of liquor in the toilet water overnight as it has a lower freezing temperature than water. Most toilets have heated seats around here, but mine's old so I just had to go get a cover as to not freeze my pasty-white tuckus (I don't care if I spelled that wrong, sorry).
  • unsalted, unplowed roads: for whatever reason, they don't believe in doing this, so if it snows heavily I can expect to find snow on the roads for up to a good 2 weeks. As a consequence, if you have not put snow tires on your car by the 1st of December, any accident you get in will automatically be deemed solely your fault.
In stark contrast to this, if you go further north to the island of Hokkaido they normally have it right when it comes to heating. Good insulation, good windows with modern seals and such, snow plows, and... are you ready for it? Heated sidewalks!!! That's right, no matter how high the snow may pile up in Sapporo (and it gets pretty high), the sidewalks are clear and ice-free thanks to heated sidewalks. They also apparently have a huge underground mall from what I hear too, but I've never seen it. And I shall leave you with a quote from a certain Canuckistanian, who shall remain nameless, regarding Hokkaido:
"Hokkaido is like Canada, just with a bunch of Japanese people running around."
Ok, it was Matt. I lied.

And finally, here's your Engrish fix of the day, courtesy of the local Rifu Jasco (the kids call it "Rifujasu" for short... the one in Tagajo is "Tagajasu"), where incidentally I happened to find a restaurant with real Quesadillas!!! Here you go:

It's the variety store of amusement... but only for 3 short minutes. Talk about a quickie.

1 comment:

Matt said...

Wow...I've been quoted!!!
Ahhh, Hokkaido...it's been too long. Remember the Furano food?!! That was some damn good katsu.
Good to hear that you got your kotatsu working. I hear in the pre-electric days, they stuck red hot rocks under the table to heat the kotatsu. Mmmm, toasty.