Although the weather is already pretty chilly, it's about to get a lot chillier! Sendai's winters are comparatively mild, but if this is your first winter here, you might be in for a few surprises. Particularly when you get home from a long outing to find... it's colder in your room than it is outside!! In this article, we will try to prepare you for Japan's great indoors.
|Inside author's apartment during January.|
1. Indoor wear: Sendai's apartments and houses are cold. Even the natives say so! Very few buildings have insulation. Even fewer have central heating. As a result, the common practice here is to dress warmly even when inside one's own home. You will want some warm slippers and comfortable, warm clothing for inside use. If you want to go the traditional route, there is a Japanese garment called a hanten. It is a warm padded jacket worn inside and for brief outings. You can find them in any department store in a variety of lovely patterns and colors. Warm pajamas are definitely required at night! Pharmacies also sell chemical heaters (hokkairo) you can use to keep your hands warm both indoors and out.
|Hanten -traditional winter wear|
2. Heating: As mentioned, most residences don't have central heating. Instead, only the rooms being used are warmed with electric or kerosene heaters. If you use a kerosene heater in particular, please use caution as they release fumes that become toxic if allowed to build up. So be sure open a window or door every two hours or so. Never leave kerosene heaters burning unattended as they do pose a considerable fire hazard. Heated carpets/pads and kotatsu (a table with a built-in heater on the bottom to keep the lower body warm) are also popular ways to keep warm while relaxing or studying inside.
|Hanging a curtain in front of |
your entrance helps keep out the
We hope this guide is of some help. Stay warm and have a great winter!