Instead of polluting the lake, we bought a new heater. I'll work on the old one and get it working properly, but meanwhile we won't have to do without heat. Well, we have more that one heater, but if we want to occupy more than one room at a time we need two or more. I wanted a different kind anyway. Most of the keosene room heaters here use an electric fan to distribute the heat. They are simple in a way, but also have computer chips to tell you how much fuel is left, warn you of too much CO in the air, and regulate the temperature. But you know what? I have a brain that can do all that for free. Besides, the fan causes them to burn a lot more kerosene than is really necessary and dry out the air which leads to dry skin, dry nasal passages, etc. It is perhaps typical of Japanese technological development - take an old technology and bring to an ultra-modern high tech state, when what is needed is a total replacement. In this case, well insulated homes with central, vented, heating systems. (Americans, don't gloat. You use several times the energy per capita than Japan or Europe. You need a lot of engineering help yourself).
These heaters also use electricity which adds a bit to that bill while burning extra keorsene. It has also occurred to me that when there is a really big storm someday, and the heater is most needed, it might also be the time when electricity was not available. Call me a survivalist nut case, but the last time I want to lose my heater is during a blizzard or other emergency. It could never happen in Kashima? Yeah, right. I hope you know how to rub two sticks together.
I did some research and bought your "basic, B-flat" (as they say in the music biz), radiant heater. No electrical grid needed. You light the wick with a battery powered spark, or a match, and it does its thing. A relfector projects the heat into the room. Not only does it save electricity, but it sips fuel while spreading a wonderful heat throughout the room. It does heat the air of course, but doesn't dry it out too much. Besides, you can put a pot of water on the top and add humidity to the air if you like. Very "retro", I know.
I will admit the old one (of more modern design with a fan) does heat up a room more quickly, but other than that I have not been impressed with it at all.
This purchase was timed perfectly, for as we slept that night it snowed here in Kashima "City" for the first time in eleven months - and unlike the last time, it actually stuck on the ground.
When Momo summoned breakfast yesterday morning, I was amazed to slide open the front door and see a thin dusting of snow over everything. It brought to mind that great scene in the movie "Dr. Zhivago" when the music swells and they break the ice to open the rail car door to a panorama of ice and snow. OK, so we're not in the Urals or Siberia.
Anyway, I was also delighted and taken back to a day in my childhood in southern California in the late 1950's, when it snowed one of the only two times in more than half a century. Flashback to my black standard poodle "Peppi" playing in the snow, neighbors bringing sleds (why did they own sleds?) and even skis to play on the slope of our 1/2 acre lot. Snow men and snow forts and snow ball fights. To those reading this from colder climes, you may think I'm going overboard, but to people in places like California, Hawaii, Fiji, or Malaysia, well, I know you'll understand.
It was cold, but at the same time it was a treat, and a beautiful one at that. As for Momo, it simply did not compute. She ate breakfast, took a look around without so much as setting a single paw in the snow (though she did take a bite), and then returned to bed until it had melted.
It was K's first day back at work teaching English in Mito City. I was grateful that this was the day she takes the train rather than drive the whole way. She would only have to drive two kilometers to the station.
It was also "burnable rubbish" day, so I followed my routine of taking it down to the collection bin across from the temple. Due to holidays they had skipped a couple of days so it was two trips and, since the road was icy, I walked rather than rode the bike. I grabbed the camera and took a few pics while I was at it. After all, how often will I get the chance to photograph snow? Not often - I hope!