Posts Tagged ‘winter’

J-Blip: Mini kotatsu a cozy spot for singles

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Warmth for one

The humble domestic kotatsu is enjoying something of a revival since the disaster at Fukushima made the nation painfully aware of the need to conserve energy. The device is a table with a heating element underneath and a warm blanket draped over it keep one’s legs nice and toasty; without using up excess energy, the kotatsu has been keeping families huddled together in the winter months since its charcoal forerunner first warmed feet in the 14th century.

But what about those living alone, who want to bring down their electric bill but might not have room for a large kotatsu table?

Enter the mini kotatsu heater from Yamazen. On sale from September last year, Tokyo Walker reports that 18,000 of these tiny heated tables have already been sold. A wooden cage around the heating element protects the skin from nasty burns and a large blanket means that you can stretch out on the floor while enjoying the heat it kicks out. The device is also portable and can be placed under a desk to keep feet toasty while browsing the web. If you’re interested in buying one, Rakuten has them in stock for 5,580 yen.

Sniffling and shivering into a setsuden winter

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

As we inch toward December, a chill is most definitely in the air, as are the inevitable cold viruses that accompany the onset of winter. At Shinjuku Station, it feels like you can hardly walk a minute without getting sneezed or coughed on by a passing comuter. According to a recent survey by cold medicine makers Contac, those living in areas powered by Tepco are particularly worried about catching a cold as a winter of setsuden (power conservation) looms.

Kaze Miru Plus tracks the cold virus in your area

The survey of office workers living alone in the Tokyo area showed that 89.1 percent were proactively taking steps to prevent getting a setsuden cold. Some felt that these might not be enough: 34.1 percent were worried that if they practiced power-saving with their heating appliances it would be harder to keep in peak physical condition. It appears that women had more of a tendency to worry about this issue: 41.1 percent of females compared to 27.2 percent of males.

As well as wrapping up warmly like the government advises, alternative sources of heating are popular. Yomiuri Online reports that a store selling kerosene heaters in Iwate had sold 200 heaters in a week and had 30 reservations from customers. These heaters are being actively marketed as being good for setsuden winter. If you’re not too keen on getting gassed in the night by one of these, a new electric heater called the “Beam Heater” claims to kick out 800 watts of heat while only running on 400 watts of electricity.

Another way to prevent getting a cold — at least in Japan — is to use a cold mask. Cold masks have become increasingly funky in recent years and we noted a nice product just out for kids that includes masks and cool packs adorned with decorations of Tomi cars and trucks. You might even manage to snag a mask for free. According to Eiga News, individually wrapped masks were available at five Tokyo stations, including Ikebukuro and Omotesando, as part of a clever advertisement for the movie “Contagion.” Once removed, the faces of the stars of the movie are revealed.

If the doomsday scenario of a super bug spreading throughout the world has you reaching nervously for the hand sanitizer, then you might want to sign up for Esu Esu Pharmaceutical’s Kaze Miru Plus, a Twitter-based application that tracks and forecasts cold and flu symptoms throughout Japan. By bringing together data from tweets and weather forecasts, Kaze Miru makes a cold forecast for your area. Today in Tokyo, 1,447 tweeted headaches, 970 a cough and 639 a runny nose. As the mercury drops those numbers are bound to rise drastically over the next few months. Be careful out there, folks.

Snoods a hot item for both women and canines

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

This year the demand for snoods (スヌード), not to be confused with retro hair nets, has become so high among women that a department store in Okayama is experiencing a shortage of the headgear. In August the store stocked a range of over 500 snoods priced between ¥5,000 to ¥10,000, but supplies are already running low due to the high demand from female customers. Yomiuri Online reports that Daimaru department store in Marunouchi, Tokyo, is also doing a brisk trade in snoods, selling about 40 a week to a clientele of mature women aged 30 to 50. Both woolen and furry varieties are popular in a range of different lengths and all options tie in well with this year’s trend for Nordic fashion.

While the trend shows some resemblance to the snoods worn on last year’s Western catwalks, what Japanese women are actually wearing is more of an evolved take on the classic snood. The loose scarf-like material is sewn in a circle, ready to be wrapped around the head or neck several times. What is known as a snood in the West is actually called a neck warmer (ネックウォーマー) here, we know, it’s super confusing!

Snoods are also popular with dogs but the canine snood is, again, different, being closer to an elasticated head-band used to keep long ears back when eating dinner, keeping dogs warm and as a cute fashion accessory when out for a walk. According to a pet store owner interviewed by Sanyo Shinbun, sales of snoods for dogs have quadrupled since dogs began to don the headgear three years ago. For a look at the range of styles on offer, check out the selection at Rakuten. We especially dig this cute watermelon dog snood in the video above. Ahhhh kawaiii.

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