The kotatsu–a low table with a heating element built into its underside and a quilt to keep the warmth in–is considered something of a national treasure here in Japan. With earthquakes in mind, Japanese homes are usually built from light materials and lack the kind of central heating that most Westerners are accustomed to, so it’s no surprise to find people either sitting at or dozing under one of these little tables until spring comes around.
During the working week, however, people are forced to abandon their tiny heat caves and spend hours at desks inside poorly-insulated municipal buildings, decades-old schools and single-glazed offices. Many employees plaster themselves with kairo heat pads or cover their laps with thick blankets in an effort to keep the feeling in their toes, but few would ever claim to be comfortable at work even having taken these measures.
But no more! Japanese gadget kings Sanwa Direct have come up with a tiny, portable kotatsu-like heating panel that attaches to the underside of any desk, promising toasty-warm laps all day long!