February 10th, 2006


Turn the heater on!

A couple of weeks ago I complained that Japanese houses are freezing in winter. But it has to be said that if they weren't so cold, they wouldn't be so cool... I mean they wouldn't contain the little focused, glowing points of happiness which are Japanese heaters. The pictures here show some I've collected over the past few weeks, starting with a kerosene heater I saw today in Kyoto's Efish Cafe, a heater identical to one we used to have in Scotland when I was a child at our cottage in Auchterarder.

Other heaters, painted in bright primary colours, look like lawnmowers or support a bubbling kettle, an Asian tradition which goes back thousands of years, and somehow makes me think of a Chinese hermit in a small mountain hut, reading poetry as he huddles over his heater and sips his cup of tea. Honestly, who needs more from life?