Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hisashiburi ~ How to Survive Hokkaido Winters

Hisashiburi is the set phrase the Japanese use when they haven't seen someone for a long time.  It's like the less old-fashioned version of "long time, no see!" - liberally used by my students as the translation for hisashiburi

I know this post is a long time coming.  I really meant to post more often!  It's one of my New Year's Resolutions, after all.  Maybe I can still average two a month for the rest of the year if I pick up the pace a bit. 

I thought I'd do a post giving homage to winter.  I would like to link to a really well-written article about surviving winter in Japan here that is completely true. Well, except for the communal sewer cleaning - I've never heard of that happening in Hokkaido. 

In some ways, I'm lucky to experience winter in Hokkaido.  Winter is much longer here, but places like Tokyo and Kyoto much further south get temperatures almost as cold as Hokkaido and yet their homes are much more poorly built for the cold.  As the article above mentions, they only really do "spot" heating which is extremely inefficient and wasteful in all but the newest and most expensive homes in Hokkaido.  It's truly an atrocity for a country that wants so desperately to be energy independent that they waste so much energy on inefficiencies.  Imagine how much less they would rely on nuclear energy if they used the energy they have more efficiency? 

Here are my top tips for surviving the winter in Hokkaido: