Eyes, JAPAN Blog > Adapting to the cold

Adapting to the cold



Coming to Aizu I was already prepared for a cold wintertime like in my hometown in Germany. Having every year a few days of -10 degree celsius in winter time and a lot of snow, it is not so different in climate.

But how was I surprised to see that German standards for building houses are not the same in such a cold region of Japan. I feel like being back in the 80s or so.

There is no thermal insulation or whatsoever for Japanese houses, or at least in the regular apartments. Warm tap water without spending time and water flowing until it is heated by the gas boiler, a mere German luxury.

Having oil or hot water heating with radiators in every room is what for Germans make common sense. Why this has never established in Japan is not in my knowledge.

I heard some rumors saying that Japanese apartments are just not that long-lasting enough to invest into something like that. Its more common to rebuild them after 10 years or so, if due to earthquake or humidity problems or anything else I do not know either.

It is worth mentioning that the newer single-family houses build by the owner of the house itself follow another concept and mainly have some kind of insulation and central heating system.


So how to “keep” it warm in winter?

If you are lucky there is an aircon in the apartment, otherwise you need to burn kerosene or if you are rich you use an electric heater which demands extremely high electricity bills every month.

One pleasant solution is the use of a kotatsu, which is basically an electric heater installed under a table covered by a huge blanket which keeps your legs warm.

For burning kerosene you have to open your window at least once per hour, which makes the whole thing ridiculous since its getting cold again.

Due to the absence of an insulation the whole heating thing renders pretty useless anyways.

So you just keep running the heater until you go to bed and then wrap yourself into the warm futon.

After some time you adapt to a freezing cold room every time you wake up and a freezing bath room while showering. At least it makes a nice start in the day since you really wake up even without a coffee.



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