For Japanese people, winter no matter how cold it is an occasion to “enjoy”. The reason is because they already have kotatsu!
Many people think that they like the winter season. Also true, because every season has a unique beauty. But only when encountering the days of drizzle, cold wind shivering, they understand how wrong they were.
In Japan, their winters are like many other countries: cold, snowy, harsh. However, Japanese people own kotatsu hotspots – extremely interesting items that help them “enjoy” winter in a very Japanese way, instead of having to endure it.
If you love Japanese culture, you will notice that in every home of this native people, there is a fairly large low table, covered with blankets in the middle of the room. That is the kotatsu.
Kotatsu – the best Japanese invention
Kotatsu are low tables that are usually made of wood, covered on a futon (Japanese-style cushion). Underneath is a heating system – usually electrically powered, but also has a charcoal type for traditional kotatsu.
The reason for saying kotatsu is the most wonderful invention is due to its ability to “universalize”. In the summer, the futons covered on top can be folded up, making it a normal table. When you need it, just spread out the blankets, plug in the power, and you can stay in it until the winter is over.
There are many types of kotatsu, from small ones close to the floor to put your feet in, to ones that are as big as a large dining table. In the past, people were often concerned about the futuristic layer of futon covering the fire, but today’s technology can prevent that risk as much as possible.
In terms of heat level, today’s kotatsu types have a mechanism to adjust the temperature. You can choose how warm your foot is, but you can also “play with your hands”, turning it into a fireplace to dispel the chill in the room.
Not just a heater
The Japanese view kotatsu tables as an important part of everyday life. They eat on the kotatsu, sleep around the kotatsu, work next to the kotatsu. The current Kotatsu table has become a symbol of the warm, gathered and reunited family.
The idea of living associated with such a small table may sound strange at first, but it embodies an extremely typical Japanese culture and faith. For them, on the body, only the legs and lower body are needed for heating, and they are willing to let the rest withstand the cold.
It comes from the ancient Japanese belief that the abdomen and stomach are the center of the human body, where it controls mood, vitality, and stores the soul. That is also the reason that when they go out, they often wear the waist harness gene – especially those of the old generation.
Today, despite the numerous inventions of heating technology, kotatsu is still very popular. Simply because the feeling of burying under these heated tables is really … happy, no device can bring.
Moreover, it’s really handy, because Japanese people often put kotatsu in the middle of the living room – extremely close to the kitchen, fridge, TV and toilet – which is too suitable for a cold winter night.
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