Andrew Magrath (biggrumpy) wrote,
Andrew Magrath

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Combating the Cold & Why it’s Strangely Quite

It’s been really cold here. Okay, not really “really” cold, but cold in Japan is different. It is more humid here so the cold eats away at your heat faster, and the Japanese keep their buildings colder (on average) so there are not good places to recharge your internal thermal batteries. The Japanese have created a long and impressive list of technogadgets to combat this problem, but surreally insulation is not one of them.

80oC Goodness
I finally got around to buying an electric kettle. I don’t think that is actually what it is called owing to the fact that it is not, in fact, a kettle. It is more of a water reservoir that heats water to be dispensed via a nice push button pump. Due to the number of hot water related foods/beverages in Japan they are quite popular. I got mine to have an infinite supply of hot water for tea ready whenever my taste buds are. While shopping for one, Dan and I discovered a model that allowed you to set the temperature of the water to either: 60, 80, 90, or 95 degrees Celsius. A sticker on the thing claimed that 80 degrees was the perfect temperature for green tea because it brought out the umami the so called 5th taste (saltiness, sourness, sweetness, bitterness, umami). Umami is sometimes considered “savoriness”. It does not necessarily have a strong taste on its own but alters the other tastes in desirable ways. In Japan, green tea is supposedly jam packed with umami, which is what gives it it’s unique taste and why it so drastically (but pleasurably) alters other foods when you add it as a spice. Two fine western examples are ketchup and certain cheeses. After sampling some tea at 80 degrees I must say, they are right. Umami is big in Japan, they have, I kid you not, conferences about it. Plus it keeps me warm!

Right Said Bed
I also purchased a large heated carpet rectangle at Yodabashi. These things are awesome. It is like an electric blanket, only it is a carpet. Mine is about the size of my bed so I just slip it in under the sheet and turn it on. I can’t wait to try it out tonight. I had to cut a small hole in my sheets in order to run the cord through. That may later be a mistake, but for now it is okay. We’ll see how long my sheet lasts, but I expect some quality warm sleeping tonight.

The quite before the storm
Dan also suggested that I clean the filters on my air con unit (I did not previously KNOW it had filters). Turns out they were filthy (probably because I did not know they existed). I am hoping that my air con will have a bit more power when heating my room. I imagine it will given the amount of debris I cleared out of my filter.

I also cleaned both filters on my air purifier. I may have to replace the HEPA soon, I need to research how long they last. Anyways cleaning the two pre-filters is easy because, like the air con filter, they just rinse off in the shower. Now they are drying, which is the problem. With the air purifier offline my room is too quite. I have lived with the soft hum of one for around 15 years. I realize that part of what makes my room “my room” is the hum of the air purifier. Without it I feel like I am not in my room. It is eerily quite, too quite. I am afraid I will not be able to sleep tonight without it. It is just an essential component of my room. When I would go home from Oberlin I didn’t turn my air purifier off. Eric would sometimes come into my room and turn it off. I always knew it was off the second I entered my room, because there was something very not “my roomy” about the room I was in. It is really strange how strongly I associate that sound with feeling comfortable in a space that belongs to me. Without that sounds, it doesn’t feel like its mine.

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