Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The last of fall

I like living in Japan, and for the most part, I have very little to complain about my life here.
For some very strange and unknown reason I don’t experience most of the things that other foreigners tend to whine about.

I am never ignored by store clerks. Maybe it’s because I am awfully obnoxious to begin with and they realize the sooner they deal with me the sooner I’ll leave them alone. And I go easy on them and reduce my inquiries to simple grunts and pointing. They grunt and point in reply and everyone is happy.

 Ready for winter

Little old ladies chat me up at the most inconvenient of moments – normally when I’m desperately searching for a restroom.

Strangers in the countryside boldly ask me for directions (probably because they realize that it’s either me or the brain dead konbini guy, and after talking to the konbini guy they’d gladly ask a head of lettuce, or a gaijin, for directions.

So yes, I’ve been spared the usual lore of gaijindom. Whether it’s due to my ignorance or obliviousness, I can’t really tell. And frankly, I don’t care. My life in Japan is pretty darn good, botox is relatively cheap, food is yummy, my cats are healthy and my hairdresser after a year of trying finally learned how to cut my hair.

 Still hanging on...

But come December I seriously start to question my sanity for living in this country. And then I desperately want to leave. And not come back until May, or so.

Why? No central heating in winter.

“Yeah, yeah”, I hear you say, “it’s not like you live in Hokkaido, you stupid cow!” And you’re absolutely right, I don't live in Hokkaido. Compared to Hokkaido, winter temperatures in most of Tochigi (the prefecture where we live) are positively balmy.

No snow thus nothing to complain about. Yet.

And European winters are not exactly tropical, either. I should be used to low temperatures and harsh winter weather. Yeah, but dude, in Europe we had central heating. And in Japan we don’t. What we have instead is 4 degrees Celsius in my bedroom at night. Thankfully not tonight (not yet) but just give it a few weeks… Then there will be that and more - ice on the windows inside the apartment and frozen water in the toilet bowl.

 Just give it a few more days. Or one really windy one.

So yeah, while you may think that 0 Celsius outside is no big deal, that 0 Celsius outside means about 5 Celsius inside, or lower if you're standing in my bathroom. And try to survive that without central heating.

To be continued…

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