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I Bought a Japanese Kotatsu

Before I start this blog post: yes, I know I’m only here for a year, and yes, I know Japanese winters only last for so long before it gets super hot and humid again. That said, I still bought one and I do not regret that decision.

So, for those who don’t know, kotatsus are tables with a heater attached under it. There’s a blanket wedged under the table to trap the heat in, and the table itself is usually set on a soft, plush carpet. They’re perfect for cold winter days and midday naps. I wish they were more widely sold in America, but then again, I’m from the Bay Area, so it’s not actually that cold.

Anyhow, I decided to buy a kotatsu thanks to my roommate. Our apartment gets ridiculously cold–sometimes it’s colder inside than it is outside. One cold morning, my roommate sat up from her futon and randomly asked, “Hey, do you want to buy a kotatsu?”

Like the rational person I was, I replied with, “No, we can just buy more blankets. What are we going to do with the kotatsu at the end of the year when we have to leave?”

Obviously, this rationale didn’t last very long because by the end of the week, she managed to convince me to get a kotatsu. Her reasoning was that it was cold and that we were in Japan. Since we’re in Japan, why not get the full Japanese winter experience by getting a kotatsu?

After she managed to convince me, we both went to Nitori, a store that sells affordable furniture and interior goods, to look at the kotatsus. We got distracted by the Christmas decor that was on sale (we both love Christmas), but after 2 and a half hours, we managed to pick out a kotatsu. The table with the heater was about $110. The blanket and carpet was $100. The cushions we bought for seating was around $50. In total, it was about $300 (including tax and shipping). Between my roommate and I, we paid $150 each. I think that was a very decent price for a table that can fit four.

The kotatsu arrived 4 days later in huge boxes that we could barely bring up into our apartment.

We thought it’d be a headache to set up, but it was actually super easy. It was a lot easier than IKEA furniture, so it only required one person for set up. In the end, we decided to split chores to make the process go faster. I un-boxed and set up everything and she handled the trash and lunch.

It ended up taking an hour to put everything into place, but at the end of it, our place was super cozy.

We removed the blanket because we were going to eat lunch.
The lunch my roommate put together!

All in all, buying the kotatsu was one of the best decisions I’ve made this month. As the weather get gradually colder, I’m sure this kotatsu will pay off itself. Now, the only problem is: what will I do with this at the end of the year? It’s too big to ship home and it’ll be too hard to sell in the summer…

I’ll eventually figure it out as the year progresses, but for now, I’m living my best life with this kotatsu. My money was well-spent and I’m super happy with my purchase.

There are times where happiness and comfort are worth prioritizing, and this is one of those times.


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