After getting off of work and battling the wind to make it home on my poor, battered bicycle, the first thing I did when I stepped in the door was plop down at my computer. This is normal for me, but it is a habit I’m trying hard to break. No luck so far.
I checked my e-mail and ate a bag of chocolate almonds — I’m addicted to doing both, so this is normal, too. Then, naturally, I checked the statistics on visitors to the site. To my shock, the numbers had jumped to thirty times the usual. This is not normal. I thought it had to be a mistake or perhaps a bot visiting the site. Then, I discovered that the Japanese news site, Searchina, had featured my article “5 Ways to Stay Warm in Japan.” A pleasant surprise — thank you!
The article about my post. Notice my awesome bookmarks and notice that I’ve also whited-out some of them. Wouldn’t you like to know?
I’ve translated the Searchina article after the jump.
American Blog: Measures to Protect Yourself Against the Cold in Chilly Japan, Using Kotatsu, Haramaki, and Kairo
An American woman staying in Japan has written about uniquely Japanese ways of keeping warm on the website wandertokyo.com, her Japanese culture blog.
To illustrate how cold Japanese winter gets, the writer says that while writing the post she was “wearing two shirts, a jacket, a cold, along with tights, socks and gloves.” She is living in Tokyo and since she is experiencing its cold weather firsthand, she decided to look for ways to stay warm in the winter.
Among the many unique Japanese tools for keeping warm, she chose the “kotatsu” as the number one recommended item. She wrote that, with a heater on the underside of the table and a blanket on top, when you place your feet under the kotatsu, your legs will become warm. In many Japanese households, she writes, “the kotatsu is place in front of the television, and the family gathers there to eat and use the computer.” The author doesn’t own a kotatsu herself, but she indicates that many of her friends have one, and that it is a very convenient appliance.
Another item that can be used to keep warm that she introduces is a hot carpet. In Japan, she says, where heated flooring is uncommon, many households have hot carpets, that that they are very useful to keep warm while sitting on the floor or sleeping in a futon.
She also offers the “haramaki (stomach warmer)” as one of many goods sold in Japan to fight the cold. She says when she learned about haramaki, which are worn to keep the stomach warm, she thought it was a very interesting concept. Since haramaki are worn under clothing, they can’t be seen by others, but she points out that there are many fashionable designs available for the wearer’s enjoyment.
Last, but certainly not least, is the kairo (disposable hand-warmer). She explains that when you shake the kairo, it becomes warm, and that many Japanese use it. Since hand-warmers are expensive in the US, they aren’t often used. Also, she says that in Japan, there are pouches, often decorated with cute characters, that are made to hold kairo, and that can make keeping warm in the winter more fun.
The author, who lives in Japan, says that she is trying her best to ride out Japan’s cold winter by using the ways to keep warm that she has described.
By: Tajima Haru and Yamaguchi Kouji
Apologies for any awkward translations! I’m glad that the Searchina website found my article interesting enough to cover. Also, I’d like to point out that I don’t actually live in Tokyo, although this was not something made explicitly clear in my post. Overall, I’m very happy with what was written.
Here’s to staying warm!