Thursday, January 12, 2012

How Cold Is Cold?

Thursday January 12, 12:19 p.m.

Rainy but a balmy 4 degrees C outside. However, when I was watching NHK News via TV Japan this morning, the top story was how Tokyo was entering a deep the temperature of 7 degrees! I stifled my laughter within my centrally-heated apartment.

I remember Tokyo winters as the glorious season for a Canuck like myself. Clear, crisp and sunny...and with the odd flurry. Perhaps every few years, there would be a freak snowstorm in The Big Sushi. But true to the much vaunted Japanese service, that snow would disappear overnight or by the late morning at the latest, instead of morphing into a dark glutinous mass on the verge of evolving in early March.

But here's the thing. Commuting between work and home was fine during January and February, but most apartments are still not centrally heated, and insulation is still a fairly alien concept, and windows are single-paned. So, at home, things can still get rather cool inside. Bring out the sweaters, blankets, heaters and kotatsu (a low table with a heating element underneath). Waking up in the mornings in Ichikawa could get a bit dicey: getting out from under two heavy moufu in the bedroom to head over to a nicely chilled bathroom. Yup, there's nothing like the steam of urine to wake one up in the wee hours (nicely played pun, sir!).

Still, I couldn't complain about winter in my ol' neck of the woods. But I cannot complain about this winter in Toronto, either. Aside from a deep freeze early last week, it's been gloriously warm. Not quite windsailing weather (although I have yet to check Lake Ontario for any die-hards) but I haven't exactly been putting on the longjohns and steel-toes.