Kotatsu is the best thing that has ever happened to cold weather.
My hair is damp from grease and I probably smell like a boy who had two different bands on Myspace in 2005 because I have not showered all weekend since my hot water is not working. Despite all this, I am happy to be buried underneath my Japanese heating system.
I am a firm believer that the United States is the greatest super power but they have not figured out the brilliance of a kotatsu.
Sitting on top of one blanket, to stretch your legs out under a heated table and then drape another blanket around your lap is a delightful way to waste cold, rainy days.
I remember a conversation I once had with Jake Kalos. We were naming our top three favorite things in the world.
My original list:
3. red wine
Jake made some revisions to my list, allowing for accuracy.
2. other warm and soft things
3. red wine
I am brainstorming a mindless craft I can pick-up this winter that can be done while my feet warm. I always thought knitting was overrated. I might return to that no fail water coloring hobby.
In case you are thinking that Japan cannot be completely cozy in the winter due to the absence of Christianity, which one would think would lead to an absence of Christmas, furthermore an absence of Christmas decorations.
You are wrong.
Japan is all too familiar with Christmas songs, Christmas trees, and stockings.
A student in my Adult Conversation class invited me to her house to "look at her Christmas decorations."
I would probably feel kind of sorry for someone in the states that took such pride in decorating their home for a holiday that has gained popularity due to the American need to constantly consume.
But, when I know that I will not be home to see my parents tree and I have the ability to admit that the American tradition of consumerism will always make me happy ... I felt real cozy taking pictures in front of her decorations.
After the photos were snapped we got under her kotatsau to drink tea and eat sweets.
We decided that my next visit should take place in the evening, when we will drink lots of beer, then I will sleep in her guest room because Japanese people are real into NEVER driving drunk (still cannot totally wrap my brain around that one).
Bar G is another cozy place in Ikeda.
While most places in Japan have no heat Bar G pumps up the heat! They can probably afford to do so because they charge roughly $10 for a drink.
But the drinks are so fancy and delicious.
Ashley and I like to go there and pretend we are really fancy, sip our expensive drinks and repeat, "oishii desu" to the all-star bartender that is there every night.
Bar G is my Japanese College Hill, except that when I pay my $30 tab I am only slightly buzzed as opposed to being completely inebriated and only realizing I managed to spend $30 at the bar when I find my debit card receipt in the bottom of my bag, covered in loose tobacco.
I have not completely given in to hibernating in Ikeda. In the early afternoon when the sun is out a vibrant fall still exists in every corner.