Have you ever heard of a kotatsu before?
This is a unique piece of furniture that one only finds in Japan.
It’s a very simple contraption but rather difficult to describe. In essence it’s a coffee table with an electric heater attached underneath the table. It also has a quilted mat attached to each side of the table to snuggle up to, and to keep the insulation of the heat.
In actual fact the table part is more of a square board so it can also be used as a table. These are said to use much less energy than other electrical heating appliances.
The only problem if you will is that its every so comfortable. Its very hard not to just lay there all day, which is not the worst thing to do on a winter’s day in Japan.
It is a very social piece of equipment, the Japanaese gather by the kotatsu and cook a ‘nabe’ (hot pot), eat a mandarin, watch tv and naturally have a small siesta. In fact many people sleep under the kotatsu until the next morning.
Interesting Facts :
- The original kotatsu is said to be the sunken hearths where Japanese family’s did its cooking, where family members may sleep near it after dinner.
- Those who leave just for the toilet are compared to snails.
- Cats love the kotatsu as they too have an affinity with warm things. This is the theme of a famous Japanese nursery rhyme.
- Recently Kotatsu have declined in popularity due to air conditioning systems with heaters or under floor heaters.
- As they are more energy efficient there has been a resurgence movement of the kotatsu.