Now that it’s really started to get cold, here are some of things the Japanese do to keep warm.
Kaimaki (掻巻) is nightwear that’s like a thick kimono. It’s used to keep warm at bedtime. Its special shape helps keep the neck and shoulders better protected against the cold.
Kotatsu (炬燵) is a table with a built-in heater and a blanket surrounding it. They used to use coal or other fuels, but they now come with electric heaters. As well as being used to keep warm, people also use them to serve food, as coffee tables or in bedrooms. On a cold day, it’s nice to snuggle under them with the blanket right up to your neck.
Nyûyokuzai (入浴剤) are like bath salts. There are different kinds (powders, liquids, salts), colours and fragrances, and they can have different effects, including revitalizing, warmth, or skin care.
Oshikura manjû (おしくらまんじゅう) is a children’s game to help warm up. The children get in a circle locking arms with each other, facing outwards and pulling away, while singing the game’s special song.
Nabe (鍋) are fondue-like dishes prepared in a pot. There are different types, including chirinabe (which has white fish, vegetables, tofu, etc. with stock made from kombu kelp and eaten with soya sauce and citric juice), yosenabe (which has many different ingredients, such as fish, meat, shellfish or vegetables, cooked with a seasoned broth), sukiyaki (which is made with meat, vegetables tofu, etc. in soya sauce with sugar and sake, and eaten with raw egg), shabushabu (thin slices of meat are cooked in boiling water or a kombu broth and eaten with different sauces).
Wishing you all a very merry Christmas!
よいお年を! (Yoi otoshi o!)
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