Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas and all that! (a little bit about surviving winter in Japan)

Dear everyone,
Merry Christmas to you all, if indeed you celebrate Christmas. The world is a big, wonderful place and I hope that 2014 will offer me more chances to explore, perhaps back in Australia around mid-year! Here in Japan Christmas is quiet I guess. I havent really done anything today at all. I took receipt of my new computer at least. The old one died last week which is why you haven't heard from me of late. Expect that soon the blogs will be coming again, as I will finish up the last five top destinations of my top ten, write more about Japan and do my best to brave this winter.So far we have had a bit of snow, but not a lot.
To keep the place warm we need to winter-proof the apartment. Unfortunately Japan is not as well equipped for winter as you might expect - for starters, double-glazed windows aren't that common. So, bubble wrap is the order of the day to provide a small bit of insulation.
Here you can see my attempts at insulating the doors/windows. Even the front door, not made of glass, gets a going over in an attempt to keep the cold out. Nevertheless, we find that after turning off the heater, the temperature plummets pretty quickly.
A cold winter's day, through the bedroom window.
Bubble-wrapping in progress!
Last night in Ichinoseki it was around -3 or -4 degrees celcius outside. The temperature inside when we woke at about 6am was plus 4. When we went to bed it would have been around plus 15 or so, which is freezing in Melbourne, but really quite toasty here! It's amazing how your outlook changes.
Front door with bubble wrap and kerosene tank.

Our kerosene heater.

We use a kerosene heater, popular in Japan. Last year we used the reverse cycle heater/air conditioner, and it took ages to start giving us warm air. The kerosene heater has been much better, and only a little more expensive to run. The difference is well worth it. We were fortunate that someone had a spare and very kindly and generously let us borrow it. We have to fill it up from a tank every few days because we are burning fuel, and it's not the best on the eyes, we need to ventilate the apartment regularly. But that's the price you pay for warmth.
Melbourne, my home town, enjoyed a 31 degree Christmas day, we were about 30 degrees less for a maximum here. Next year we hope to go back to a hot Christmas. Everyone here says a hot Christmas is just not right.Speaking as an Australian, I have to disagree...

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