Old man winter has got me down. My life has slowed down to a snails pace, closely resembling an animal that hibernates for the winter. Sure its not as cold here as winters in Colorado, but there’s something about Japanese winters that just wear people down. I’m pretty sure that most of that is due to the lack of insulation and central heating in buildings. None of my schools are heated except for a small stove in the back of some of my classrooms. Even with the heater the classroom hovers around 40degrees fahrenheit. But they don’t always use the heaters, and sometimes they leave the windows open. It isn’t rare for me to teach a class when I can see my own breath INSIDE the classroom. Being just a little bit cold for that long wears on your body and your soul.
Homes also lack central heating and many rely on kotatsu for their primary heat source. A kotatsu is a heated table with a blanket that you sit under so your lower half can bake and the rest of your house resembles a refrigerator. I love me some kotatsu but its not a legit replacement for heat.
My permafrost body doesn’t work quite as quickly as normal. My temper is just a little bit shorter, I tend to whine a little bit more, and I spend far too much time knitting in my bed. Hopefully the groundhog was wrong because I don’t think I can handle another 6 weeks of winter.
I’m not the only one that can’t handle winter. Its pretty universal for foreigners to hate winters in Japan. There was even an article in the Japan times. I find some relief knowing that I’m not alone in my misery.