Winter is settling in and the nights are getting colder. Fortunately, that means you’ll soon be able to slumber snugly in a Rilakkuma sleeping bag!
As the man with the sword told us repeatedly, “Winter is coming.” And while some of us are happy to play in the snow, not everyone is so excited about the chilly weather. Some of us, in fact, would much prefer to stay inside and sleep in the kotatsu.
Or, if you happen to be an adorable kitten, you might prefer to just to hang out inside your human’s foot-warming heated carpet.
Winter is undoubtedly the worst season to be alone in Japan. Soon singles will be starting the annual desperate search for the special someone to spend Christmas with and it’s not hard to see why. Having someone to cuddle up to during the upcoming cold, long months is far preferable to fighting off the chill by yourself.
Of course, not everyone wants to jump into a relationship just for a little extra body heat, and now thanks to one Japanese electronics maker and their kotatsu for one, singles just might be in for the warmest winter yet.
One of the most wonderful things about a Japanese winter is the abundance of hot drinks that become available at convenience stores and vending machines on street corners. There’s nothing quite like popping a coin into a machine on a freezing cold night or while making your way to work, only to have a piping hot can delivered into your frozen palms; it’s an experience that’s almost as satisfying as actually drinking the hot beverage and warming yourself from the inside out!
Stumbling across a good hot soup other than corn potage when scouring the drinks display is always a rare bonus and now that’s something we can look forward to, especially after a night of drinking, with the new canned miso soup from Nagatanien. Filled with the power of ornithine, an amino acid abundant in clams, this is a traditional hangover remedy from Japan, now packed in a can!
Depending on where you are, winters in Japan can be bitterly cold or actually rather temperate, but due to a general lack of insulation, it seems like most Japanese homes are always a little cold. But this general chilliness gave birth to that magical piece of furniture, the kotatsu. Basically a covered table with a heater attached, the kotatsu is often the centerpiece of a Japanese living room and a great way to get in some family time.
And with these new cat-themed kotatsu covers, cushions, and hoodies, it’ll be twice as difficult to pull yourself away from the kotatsu on a chilly winter morning!
Summer has already given way to fall, and those cold winter nights will soon be upon us. As economical as Japan’s method of heating individual rooms can be—usually involving air conditioning units or kerosene stoves—it does have its issues, the biggest of which being that only a couple of rooms are heated at any one time, leaving everywhere else in the house freezing cold. During winter, trips to the bathroom in a Japanese house are no fun.
But this winter brings with it a new clothing item that is going to solve all your lounging and heating issues in one fell swoop. This light-weight but incredibly warm one-piece is so comfortable, it’s like you’re wearing nothing at all.
Have you ever laughed at someone falling or giggled uncontrollably when your server dropped those plates all over the restaurant floor? Then you my friend, have experienced the untranslatable German word schadenfreude: taking pleasure in others’ misfortune. And there has been a whole lot of schadenfreude going around the Internet in Japan the past few days after netizens discovered a hilarious video of a poor winter-weary guy in America falling in the snow for a solid nine seconds.
Click below to see more the man’s struggle and how the Internet has made him surf, play hockey and even dodge Darth Maul’s light saber in Star Wars Episode I.
Here in Japan, there’s a ton of stuff you can use to warm yourself up against winter’s chill, including thermal undies, hot baths infused with ginger, and pocket warmers or kairo, which you can stick all over your body. But as well as applying heat to the outside, it’s also important to make sure you warm up your insides, and one way to do this is by consuming warming foodstuffs like hot soup and hot drinks.
This winter, the major craze is to slurp down a cup of hot chocolate with actual chili peppers floating in it! Check out these Twitter testimonials to find out what’s so great about this unusual beverage!
According to Pennsylvania’s famed groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, the U.S. has another six weeks of winter ahead of it. The States aren’t alone though; February is a cold, dreary month all over the freeze-inflicted parts of the northern hemisphere, including much of Japan. One thing that makes the cold a little better though, is having some pretty snow on the ground to play in and to make the shivering cold (almost) worth it.
The only thing better than snow on the ground is finding snow in weird formations that might make you stop in your tracks, take a second look or like many Japanese netizens, take pictures to post on the Internet. Some of these strange snow formations from around Japan are pretty mind-boggling, so get ready!
Though it’s not official, we’re starting to think that Japan’s national sport is waiting in line. The colder the day and the longer you stand around shivering, the more points you seem to get. Hey, it’s a lot less violent than, say, sportsball, so we’re not criticizing.
And the most recent line-waiting competition took place this Friday–just in time for the first snow of 2015 in the Tokyo/Yokohama area! We think that’s like a kicking a three-pointer in baseball or something. But who or what were these hundreds of people waiting for in the middle of the snow outside Yokohama Arena?
For many people, Moscow, covered in snow, is the first thing that springs to mind when they think of Russia. But while that’s certainly an iconic image, it’s but one view of the largest country by land mass in the world. Russia stretches far from both east to west and north to south, encompassing a variety of ecosystems and climates, and not all of them look like snowy Red Square.
Some places are actually a lot colder. Take, for instance, the town of Dudinka, where a busted water main turned a street into a solid block of ice, encasing cars parked along the road like flies trapped in an ice cube.
Japanese homes are notorious for being poorly insulated, in the wintertime often leaving you feeling just as cold indoors as you do outside.
Despite having permanent fur coats (lucky them!) our pets can still feel the chill and will do what they can to stay cozy. We’ve already shown you cats and space heaters, and dogs in kotatsu, but now we bring you some adorable hamsters in sleeves.
Heavy winds, low visibility and snow drifts the size of houses. What do you do? Go to that lecture at 8:30 or grab as many blankets as you can and binge watch Dragon Ball? Although the answer might be pretty simple for some university students in Japan, the ones in Hokkaido know there is no such thing as a snow day. Freshman students at Hokkaido University are sometimes amazed to encounter the incredibly snowy weather conditions that face them on their way to class. There is not much else they can do but bundle up, snap a few pictures and share them with the Internet.
We’ve collected some of the best pics taken by Hokkaido’s students this winter. Would you go to class in this weather?
Though spring is only a few months away, Tokyo is still downright cold these days. Of course, if you’re from a colder climate, you probably annoy your friends by running around in shorts asking why they’re shivering, but for many people here, it’s still pretty cold. Whether it’s the sea breeze zipping through the streets or some sort of reverse heat island effect, we’re not sure, but it is enough to make mornings downright brutal.
And people aren’t the only ones cursing the cold–our furry feline friends are none too fond of winter either! But unlike humans, they come with built-in scarves. Check out some of Japan’s cutest cats wrapping themselves up nice and warm with their tails.
From afar, it seems like this building in Japan has given its lobby’s floor lights a fancy new makeover by adding cat statues to them. On closer inspection, however, we can see that these are actually real cats that have decided to position themselves right on top of the light sources and are being illuminated like heavenly beings.
Earlier last month when Kyoto was blanketed with deliciously photo-friendly snow, hundreds of truly serene pictures of world-famous Kinkaku Temple flooded the Internet. However, Kyoto’s beauty isn’t exemplified only by Kinkaku-ji; the old capital is full of amazing pieces of Japanese history that were made breathtakingly tranquil by the recent snowfall.
Daigo Temple might not be as popular with tourists as other spots in Kyoto, but perhaps you should be planning your next visit there once you see these pictures.
To someone raised in an area that receives little to no snow in the wintertime, living in a snowy region might seem like a lot of fun, what with all the sledding, snowball fights, and easy access to ski resorts. But it’s not all fun and games when you need to shovel through feet of snow just to leave your house or to get your car out of your driveway.
But maybe to someone who hasn’t grown up having to shovel heaps of snow each winter, snow-shoveling could be a fun experience too. At least, that’s what the Akiota-cho Sightseeing Association in Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan, seems to be hoping as they try to lure city-dwellers to their 4th annual “Heavy Snow Region Experience Tour“. However, this tour has some net-users questioning why anyone would want to pay 5,000 yen (approximately US$50) to shovel snow for someone else.
Remember the fun you used to have making snowmen when you were just a little sprout of a kid? Sure, your fingers would get numbed to the bone and your knees would get soaked from kneeling in the snow as you sculpted away for hours. But those little niggles were forgotten once you looked upon your finished masterpiece, before running inside to beg for some spare clothes and a carrot nose to decorate your newest frosty friend. Then he melted and you felt a little abandoned, a little lost, as though a part of your childhood had vanished, eroded like so much evaporated snow… Just me? Anyway, making stuff out of snow is awesome, and if you don’t believe us, check out this gallery of the best cute and wacky snow sculptures from China and Japan!
Chilly as winter may get in Japan, we’ve got to admit there are some cool things about the coldest part of the year. For example, the Christmas decorations around Tokyo are amazing, and even if you’re not feeling up to braving the cold weather, Japan offers a couple of ways to make winter more bearable even if you’re staying indoors. High on the list are mikan, the mandarin oranges that’re at their tastiest in winter, and kotatsu, the blanket-covered, heater-equipped tables that’re so cozy it’s almost impossible to pull yourself out of one once you get situated comfortably.
Don’t take our word for it, though, as these adorable cats lounging though a Japanese winter serve as far better spokescreatures for mikan and kotatsu than we ever could.