Here's the thing: when you get into this program, or another ALT program, and you're packing to come to Japan, don't be like me. Don't say, "Oh, I'm going to a warm area, I don't need super-warm clothes. I can just layer these summer tops!"
Don't be like me back in the summer (i.e., an idiot). Don't be like me then, or you will be like me now, and you will hate yourself for it.
You see, things that are true:
1) Beppu is relatively warm (compared to, say, Nagano, yes, I know.)
2) Beppu is warmer than New York (I am asked about this 20 times a day.)
Things that are also true:
1) When people say "there is no insulation or heating in Japan," they mean there is no insulation or heating in Japan.
Or, as I put it to several of my coworkers: Yes, New York is colder. But in New York, we're not cold
I'm cold on the walk to school. I'm cold when I get to school. I'm cold sitting at my giant metal desk. I'm cold when they open the windows in the middle of winter, because they do that here. I'm cold when I walk home. I'm cold when I sit in my room, even next to my tiny space heater. I'm freezing when I go into the bathroom or hallway/kitchen area. I'm sometimes so cold in the middle of the night that I wake up of cold.
In fact, basically the only times I'm not cold are when I go to night school, which turns its giant kerosene heater to levels of crazy, or when I'm standing in the shower with all the hot water on.
As I said on my Facebook: I think I have a tendency to seem kind of disaffected sometimes -- it's a New York/Jewish/ex-goth/Ivy League thing -- but anyone who doubts my commitment to
But I have to admit, a lot of this would have been mitigated if I hadn't been an idiot in the first place and just brought some warmer freaking clothes with me. Or believed my predecessor when she told me that the fan heater was totally sufficient for winter. Of course, she was from England, and I hear people are all insane there, too.*
*Disclaimer: I love English people and the insane.
I will say one thing that is also true about Japan, though. You hear all the time about how nice Japanese people are, and sometimes that's just not true at all, but sometimes it really is. To wit: today I was at the store, stockpiling on long underwear-like items with names like "Inner Heat," when a woman came over and shoved a piece of yellow paper into my hand. I blinked at her uncomprehendingly. She jabbed at it.
"This, use this one," she said, pointing. I realized it was a coupon flier, with several of the coupons X-ed out, but several more that were still usable and totally applied to my purchase. I saved a bunch of money! She ran off before I had a chance to thank you, so thank you, random woman!
I tried to pay it forward and give the flier to someone else, but no one else seemed to be seriously shopping, and the one woman I tried already had one, so I guess the universe wants me to be a greedy bastard for now.
Anyway, that was a tangent, and none of this was actually the point of this post. Oops. What I really wanted to do was put up a straw poll and/or recommendations list for myself and interested readers.
So! My fellow Oitans/temporary Nihonjin, what are you doing to beat the hea... wait, no. Dice the ice? Cheese the freeze?
Ooh! Kill the chill!
...Anyway, for dummies like myself, let us know your favorite methods for making it through the winter.