It’s cold tonight and I’m wishing I had a Kotatsu right now! Kotatsu are Japanese tables designed to be used while sitting on the floor. In the summer, kotatsu are just plain old tables with very short legs. But once the temperature drops, the table gloriously transforms into the warmest place
in the house! All you do is add a warm blanket and plug in the table to activate the electric heat source mounted on its underside. Next sit on the floor, slide your legs under the table, and gather the blanket around you. In no time you’re enjoying a warm, snuggly cave from the waist down. Don’t forget it’s a Japanese winter custom to eat a mikan (“tangerine”) and sip green tea while sitting under the table.
But what if your exposed arms, chest, and face are still cold? You may be tempted to lie down, slide all the way under the kotatsu, and take a quick little nap. Even though it sounds like a great idea, it should be avoided unless you want to catch a cold. That’s right! Japanese commonly say that sleeping under a kotatsu will make you sick. I’m not sure if I believe this commonly held theory. Especially since I think I used to fall sleep under my kotatsu every night. I never caught a cold, never got burned, and never burned down the house. I guess I was willing to risk my life every night for the warmth of the kotatsu.
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