Things I like about winter in Japan: wearing my hanten kimono coat while enjoying a dinner of nabe with the family, which is any stew made in a pot in the center of the table, such as sukiyaki. Drinking a hot can of coffee while waiting for a train. Sinking into a bath at the end of the day while one of those fizzing BUB bath tablets rejuvenates me. Then there are a few things I don’t like about winter in Japan. Being cold all the time, since Japanese houses are not very well built. (There’s an odd expectation left over from the bubble years that you’ll tear your house down and build a new one every 15-20 years, so why build them properly?) I’m also not a fan of the kerosene space heaters used to warm rooms, or more specifically, finding that my heater has run out of fuel in the coldest part of the night, requiring me to go downstairs and fill it up again in the shivering cold. The kerosene tanks are usually kept in the genkan (shoe foyer) near the front door, and as I refill the tank from my heater with the pump there’s a 50% chance I’ll overfill it, spilling kerosene all over the family’s shoes and making everyone mad at me.
Ah, the agony of refilling the kerosene tank during winter.