Cold Weather Firsts

It has been chilly here in Tokyo.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to complain about the cold — since it is currently 21 degrees F (-6 degrees C) and snowing at my parents’ house in Minneapolis, and that’s after, according to my dad, “it had warmed up overnight.”

Here is the forecast for Tokyo this week:

Fear not, Americans — this is Celsius.  OK, so maybe it is not that cold…

That’s more like it.

But my parents house in Minneapolis is cozy, and my apartment in Tokyo is not.  The building is poorly insulated and my curtains sway with the breeze, get my draft drift?  50 degrees F (10 degrees C) feels chilly when you are inside.  I bought a pair of legwarmers and actually wear them.  And not ironically.

A drafty chill is the norm around Tokyo during the winter months, but there are plenty of other ways to keep warm.  This weekend I got to try a few for the first time.

Nabe 鍋 is a traditional winter dish, a one-pot soup or stew that cooks right at the table and is shared with friends or family.  Perhaps a little humble and unassuming, this soup pot of friendship warmed me right to the core.  You get to watch the broth bubble and then poke and pick out your favorite bits.  It was delightful.  Ours featured spicy sauce and soy milk, tantan tonyu nabe 担担豆乳鍋.  I probably just made-up that word, but it doesn’t matter because the soup was delicious.  Sorry for the poor cellphone photo – I was too excited to take the time to get a real camera.

My other cold weather first this weekend was to cuddle under a kotatsu 炬燵, a small table with a heating unit underneath that you cover with a heavy blanket.  Don’t even ask me about fire hazards, because all I know is that the kotatsu is my new love.

Doesn’t it look cozy?  A friend has a kotatsu with a pit underneath where you can dangle your legs and play anonymous footsie games.  There are a few months of winter left, so I’m thinking I can justify finding a kotatsu of my own.  If it works out, you won’t hear from me until spring.

5 thoughts on “Cold Weather Firsts

    • Yes! That is definitely bacon, and it was gooooood. I’ll try to find you a recipe! We actually had nabe again last night and this time it had chunks of fish, oysters, scallops and noodles. Mmmm.

    • It is amazing, that’s what it is! The kotatsu is actually a short-legged table with a heater underneath. You cover the whole thing with a big (non-flammable!) blanket, then you place another flat panel on top, making a little blanket sandwich. Stick your legs underneath it all, and enjoy!

  1. Pingback: Mmmm. « Saké Puppets

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