Today I will speak on the dangers of winter. Only dangerous when mixed with a good little does of stupid.
First: once upon a time, I almost started a fire in my house.
I may have mentioned before now that Japan is kind of cold. And that it has no insulation in the walls of buildings. Okay. Well to prevent death and hypothermia, there are heaters. They come in many shapes and sizes for many different uses.
There are huge round towers about two or three feet high, kerosene burners, which are installed in each room in the school. The halls are frigid, but the rooms can be pretty warm. I think when I told my fellow JETs I was getting a kerosene heater, they pictured one like this.
photo borrowed from a fellow JET's blog - she's a great insight into Japan and JET things! Check it out at http://yamaninjo.wordpress.com/
They expressed fears about open flames in my house. Little did they know... the real danger lurked not with my kerosene heater (although I did spill freaking kerosene ALL OVER the kitchen floor that one time...)
This thing, like all kerosenes, makes a pretty bad smell upon startup and turn-off, so I am always sure to ventilate well. And, it you so much as tap it accidentally, it shuts itself off immediately.
No, when I tried to burn the house down, I had to use more elementary measures.
Smaller electric heaters, called "stove"s are also to be found easily. I bought one when I was still searching for the perfect kerosene unit, and use it only rarely anymore. It's just a little space heater. Two wires that get hot and a grille to shield it from wayward material.
But the grille does nothing. Nothing I say! When you unseeingly kick a blanket onto the space heater. No really, I even smelled it and thought by way of a little joke, "it's funny that they call it a stove since it kind of smells like something is cooking."
Something WAS cooking.
That blanket is super flame retardant, or the amount of time it spent on that heater should have set a lot more shit ablaze.
Second: once upon a time, I burned my foot so badly I had to buy new shoes to accomodate the blister that resulted.
To be continued...