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What are kotatsu?

kotatsu (炬燵) is a low, wooden table frame covered by a futon, or heavy blanket, upon which a table top sits. Underneath is a heat source, often built into the table itself. Kotatsu are used almost exclusively in Japan, although similar devices are used elsewhere.

en.wikipedia.org

Most Japanese homes have kotatsu

www.flickr.com; photo by misawakatsutoshi

To put it simply, a table + a blanket + a heater = a kotatsu.
Because Japanese people habitually sit on the floor, this style of heater was implemented.

If you have a kotatsu, everyone becomes lazy?!

The warmth of the kotatsu invites sleepiness.
Once you get under the kotatsu you won’t want to get out.

You’ll want to spend the whole day under the kotatsu…

While you’re under the kotatsu you can eat, do desk work, surf the internet, watch TV…
People who get caught by the lazy charms of the kotatsu end up spending their entire lifestyles underneath it.
As a result, the area surrounding the kotatsu becomes a mess.
If people don’t properly pull themselves together, they end up spending the whole night under the kotatsu!

You’ll end up lying down without realizing

photozou.jp; photo by 山岡 広幸 (Yamaoka Hiroyuki)

Once you get under the kotatsu you’ll unknowingly end up lying on the floor. This is the moment the laziness grabs you!

Cats love kotatsu too!

photozou.jp; photo by りゅういち (Ryuuichi)

Cats love warm places so they quickly become prisoners of the kotatsu.

The structure of a kotatsu

What kind of table is the kotatsu that corrupts people and cats into laziness?
Once you learn about it, maybe you too will want to bring this into your home.
Make no mistake, you will spend many happy hours underneath it, so beware…

 

Modern kotatsu mostly use electric heaters.
The infra-red heater is attached to the bottom of the table and emits heat that is trapped between the blanket and the rug.
It’s made so you can get warm if you sit with your legs beneath the blanket.

Delicious things to eat while under the kotatsu

When you’re under a warm kotatsu, you’ll want to eat. These are the foods Japanese people associate with the kotatsu.

1. Mikan (mandarins)

www.flickr.com; photo by Kanko*

If you’re under the kotatsu for a long time, your throat gets dry.
When that happens, mikans are perfect to rehydrate with!
Maybe the reason that these are so popular is that you can peel them without a knife so you don’t have to get out from the kotatsu to go to the kitchen.

2. Ice cream

Since it’s cold you’re using a heater but mysteriously you want to eat ice cream anyway. Eating ice cream while being warmed by a kotatsu is superb!

3. Stews

Using a portable burner on top of the table, you can eat everything in the pot as it boils, so it’s perfect to eat when you don’t want to get out from underneath the kotatsu.
Since stews warm you from the inside out, it’s the food you’ll want to eat in the winter.

 

Those of you who are already thinking ‘I want one!’ are getting pulled into the world of kotatsu… you should try it for yourself.

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