Lately I have gotten into the healthy habit of going for a walk after work. Yay, making New Year’s resolutions into reality! Well today, I checked the weather before my walk via peaking out my window, and it looked quite lovely! The sun was shining, the crystal blue sky was clear, and the few puffy white clouds looked quite inviting. It practically looked like Spring! So I grabbed a sweater and off I went. And ten minutes into my walk I found out that it was not like Spring outside, very very not like Spring. The frigid wind was cold enough to be painful on my poor exposed flesh, little shards of ice were pelted at my face, and with every step I bemoaned leaving my coat behind. Trudging along and wondering exactly how long it takes for hypothermia to set in, my mind drifted to all sorts of lovely warm toasty things, like my fluffy winter coat that was languishing in the closet, or a hot bowl of chowder with delicious smelling steam that could thaw my frozen face, or a kotatsu! I vowed that if I had a kotatsu at home, I would curl up under the blanket at the beginning of Winter and not come out until Spring.
As a quick reminder, a kotatsu is a short table with a heating element underneath and a thick blanket or quilt over the top. Like a dining table or living room sofa, a kotatsu is a communal fixture in a room and is usually used by everyone in the house hold. This traditional Japanese furniture is featured in quite a few anime and is almost required to be present for slice of life Winter or holiday episodes.
If you are also feeling a bit like The Little Matchstick Girl and would like something to warm up your heart if not your toes, than why not check out some anime that just love cuddling around the kotatsu!
Ouran High School Host Club
The king of the host club Tamaki Suoh might not have grown up in Japan, but he does love all things culturally Japanese. From anime to samurai dramas, he is quite the otaku. And that adoration clearly shows up in the rather flamboyant events that he plans for the host club members to participate in. Of course, his adoration of Japanese cultural icons extends to kotatsu too! In the episode 24, as Kyoya recounts his first meeting of Tamaki Souh, one of the first things the young Tamaki wants to experience in after arriving in Japan is a kotatsu!
Fruits Basket (2001)
In the original Fruits Basket, with Yuki who turns into a rat, and Kyo who turns into a cat, it’s not surprising that they don’t get a long. Yet even two arch rivals can come together when there is the warm of a kotatsu available. In episode 9, it’s New Year’s and poor Toru is spending the holiday at home alone. Needless to say, once her best boys hear about her unfortunate holiday, they scurry back home from the Soma family celebration to fight away Toru’s holiday blues. And where do they spend a big part of the much smaller New Year’s celebration? Around the kotatsu of course!
Oh Suddenly Egyptian God!
In this adorable chibi anime, the Egyptian gods get into all sorts of mischief. From ordering pizza to their pyramid, to pulling pranks on each other, these little cuties are never dull. And all their antics are presented in nice little bite sized episodes, so the series is just right for a quick pick-me-up, or a very swift binge watch. And in one little episode the Egyptian gods get a bit too chilly, so of course they pull out their kotatsu and huddle around it eating mandarin oranges (another Japanese tradition). It’s very cute, and it isn’t too long before they all doze off to sleep.
4 thoughts on “The Warmth of Winter: Kotatsu!”
I had a nice kotatsu that I used year round when I was in Japan, was very comfy in the winter given that Japanese homes don’t have very good insulation. Once you get into the kotatsu, it’s hard to leave.
That said, I do think that a decent couch and blanket is more comfortable in the long run than sitting on the floor, or on a cushion on the floor. And central heating basically makes the kotatsu obsolete, unless you have the thermostat turned down real low.
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Central heating is pretty nice! Though I still like traditional heating for the ambiance. I used to live in a house with a potbelly stove in the living room, and even though we didn’t need it to keep the room warm (we had electric heating) I still love starting it up on cold Winter nights because it was just so nice to look at. And I could as so open the little hatch in front of the stove and roast marshmallows over the flames! Yum!
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We don’t have a kotatsu here where I live, but it was a bit cold during the first weeks of January. I just use my trusty thin blanket to get warm. Now that February is ending, the temperature is now getting unbearably hot during the afternoons; a dangerous place for us teachers since we might collapse due to heat stroke.
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Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a February warm enough to lead to heat stroke! That sounds quite toasty!