Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Magical Rock Heater

It’s November in Hokkaido, which usually means snow, heaters and nabe (a delicious meal), but this year it hasn’t snowed yet. The temperature has cooled down some, but not enough to snow or to use the heat in my apartment.

Currently it’s 19.6 (Celsius) inside my apartment, and though I’m cold, it’s a temperature that I’ve decided means put on more clothes and grab a blanket. Maybe if I were a normal Japanese person I’d have the heater on already, or maybe if I didn’t have a mysterious rock heater.

It earned the name “mysterious rock heater” when my supervisor explained it to me. I couldn’t figure out why no heat was coming out when I turned it on so I asked her to help me. With her limited English and my limited Japanese, what I understood was that DSC_1851by turning it on at 6pm, it would be working at 6am the next day. When I asked more, I learned that there were rocks inside.

Even now, I’m not entirely sure how it works, but it seems that it warms up the rocks and they hold the heat.

The tricky thing is that since it takes about 12 hours to warm up, turning it off and on isn’t really an option. So, when the temperature in my house is consistently below 19, it means it’s time to turn it on.

We’re not there yet though, so here I sit, wrapped in many layers with a blanket on my lap.