Comic: I don’t say “Thank You” enough…

OB_15_4 comic comics life in japan texan in tokyo cartoon  winter in japan

I love our little space heater. We got it on sale for only like 1500yen ($15) back before winter starter.

Honestly, I don’t know what I’m going to do next winter. Houses in Japan don’t have central heating. They also don’t have very effective insulation.

Houses are mainly built to withstand the heat and humidity of the summer (without molding/using air conditioning). So in the winter, conditions are pretty miserable. Especially for a Texan like me…


Like these comics? Check out my comic books (on Amazon):

My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy: The Comic Book


My Japanese Husband (still) Thinks I’m Crazy


Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo

About Grace Buchele Mineta

I got into the writing business by accident. Now I live in the countryside near Tokyo with my husband, Ryosuke, where I draw comics, blog, and make videos about our daily life. Contact: Website | More Posts

23 Comments on Comic: I don’t say “Thank You” enough…

  1. Insulation actually ALSO helps against heat… I see no reason why Japanese houses couldn’t be of better build quality.
    Using an aircon as a heater is terribly inefficient, especially when the heat directly dissipates. The weirdest of all this? Japan has a big problem providing enough electricity. There was some talk of being more energy-efficient after the Fukushima disaster, but nobody seems to talk about that anymore. The main energy problems have not been fixed, that’s for sure! I’m very afraid this has to do with the people who make money building inefficient housing, and TEPCO actually making more money for all the wasted power.
    Japan really needs some kind of ‘consumer voice’ organisation to address these problems.
    Well, that’s just my opinion anyway :) Sorry about ranting :)

  2. Hi Grace! I have the same problem here in Taiwan, the combination of no heating and awful insulation makes BOTH winter and summer pretty miserable.

    Oh I miss those properly built old Italian buildings with thick stone and wooden windows..

  3. I shamelessly use hot airconditionning XD

  4. 3 words: hot water bottles

    Not the horrible plastic or metal ones. Get a good german or english rubber one. You can make a cover or buy one to go on it.

    Of course, this is mainly for night, but you can use them during the day too.

    We bought ours when in Germany and brought them with us to Japan. We were sooo glad we did!

  5. Chelsea/Rue // 16 March, 2015 at 4:37 am //

    Grace & Ryosuke! New reader/fan here! ^^ I binge-watched a bunch of your YouTube videos last night haha, you guys are so cute and funny and I got really into it. Plus learning about Japan is awesome so that was a bonus. I found you through Rachel & Jun’s channel~

  6. This is going to sound crazy but, since you will be living out in the country it might be an option. I grew up in a rural part of the United States where the winters can be -60 f below zero with the wind. Some people use strawbales wrapped in plastic around the outside of their home (like the thick plastic painter’s tarps) stacked 3-4 bales high. It actually is a surprisingly good insulator and doesn’t cost a lot of money though, aesthetically it isn’t the prettiest.

  7. I’m lucky enough Sing is so hot he can be a heater himself :D actually I read somewhere that if you and your partner sleep naked, the heat of your bodies will warm each other more than if you are in PJs but I haven’t tested it *insert sad Sing’s face*:D

  8. Andraste // 16 March, 2015 at 3:49 am //

    Is it the same thing in the north of Japan where they have more snow during the winter? Here in Québec (Canada), we have a lot of snow and the temperature can drop and reach -30°c… Hopefully, spring is coming soon!

    By the way, I just discovered your YouTube channel and your blog and I love it! You are so adorable! We can see how much you love and take care of each other. I hope to make my first trip to Japan soon. There are so many things to see!

    I’m sorry if my English is difficult to understand. I am a French Canadian and English is only my second language. I have many questions, but it is not always easy to say what we really think in a different language.

    Do you think it’s possible to teach French in Japan? I did some researches, but they always talk about English classes. I understand, English is a very useful language all around the world, but if there is a chance… even a tiny chance, it’s better than nothing. I have this project in mind for so long, but for everybody around me, they would think I am crazy. I have a job (but it’s not what a really want) an apartment, two cats, but no boyfriend and other big responsibilities that make it impossible. It just scary as hell! It’s like jumping in a pitch black hole without knowing if you will survive. I imagine say that to my mother: hey mom, I am moving to Japan for teaching French, awesome, right? I’ll end up tying somewhere, although I am almost 30 year old!

    Well, I’ll stop the massacre of the English language here. I’m not even sure if what I just wrote makes sense … I should have paid more attention during my English classes, sorry!

    • Bren Shuler // 16 March, 2015 at 8:42 am //

      Your English is fine! Sorry, as an English speaker I have no idea how much demand there is Japan for the French language, but expect it is pretty low outside of colleges or specialty language schools/programs (maybe like Berlitz?). Are you licensed to teach schools in Quebec? If so, look for any French international schools in Japan–I know there is one in the greater Tokyo area but don’t know the name or the location. Good luck!

      • Thank you! No, I am not a licensed teacher, but I do have a university degree in history (not much of use in real life, but I made a choice) and a one year certificate in archives and document management. Also I grabbed a bit of experience by doing many little jobs involving customer services. Currently, I am responsible of a committee in charge of the harmonisation of the working processes in document management between the three different sites of a big financial company here, in Quebec. Mostly, I make sure that the thing do not turn into a open war as the people are very attached to their old working habits. Well, none of these are teaching experiences, but I am quite comfortable with people and I am used to synthesise and explain complicated facts. I can keep on dreaming I suppose!

        • Bren Shuler // 16 March, 2015 at 1:09 pm //

          Here are two sites in English (LOL!) to the Lycee Francais International de Tokyo (LFIT):

          There was reference to a similar school in Kyoto.

          Contact LFIT to see what their teaching requirements are. Even if those with teaching degrees/experience are the norm and expectation, there might be exceptions. Or at least find out if their standard is something worth going back to school for. You’re young enough!

    • shakoora // 17 March, 2015 at 2:58 am //

      When I was searching for ALT jobs, I remember seeing a company looking for bilingual teachers. Try:

  9. Melody ♡ // 16 March, 2015 at 12:36 am //

    The reality of the amount of things you have to go without in Japan if you’re coming from a country like America/Canada is daunting! No central air, no over the counter cold medicine, no ‘specialized’ diets (vegan/vegetarian) except in highly populated areas like tokyo, living in the city is too expensive to actually have a car, etc. Despite that, I cannot wait for my trip to Japan to see if it is a place that I would like to live. Good thing I enjoy the nitty gritty of Japan! Thanks for sharing!

  10. I think I would just die slowly each day without central heating :)
    Each winter I wear just normal clothes inside…never had to dress up warm and I cant even imagine something like that!

  11. I feel the same about air conditioning in the summer! :)

  12. So true! Only here in Los Angeles it’s been 90 degrees for 3 days. We’re on the coast, which never needed air conditioning until recently. But for the last (hot) year, I’ve anthropomorphized “Big Fan” and “Little Fan.”

    “It’s 5 AM, Little Fan! Time to get you in the window while it’s cool outside!”

    “Great job, Big Fan! House is down to 74 degrees!”

    To my husband: “I’m worried about Little Fan. He seems sluggish…”

    Husband: “Can we buy an air conditioner?”

  13. The idea of central heating is actually pretty much alien to me (always had to cope with individual heaters for each room), but then again I’ve never lived in a department. In fact, I think I only ever went into a department only once, and when I was a kid so I can’t even remember anymore how it felt… (and temperature may have been decent at the time too)

  14. You’ll get used to the weather in a few years. My Nigerian friend from the hotter part of Africa, wore a sweater for most of the summer because the winds were too chilly, then winter came, he shivers like a smartphone vibrating 24/7. 3 years later, he is like the rest of us.

    • bubujin_2 // 16 March, 2015 at 12:30 am //

      Yes, it does take a season or two to get acclimated to a significant change in environment. That said, I have a friend from Ghana who has lived in Japan many years and I had to give him grief recently when he was out on the soccer pitch with his gloves on while it was a rather sunny, balmy day for the season.

  15. bubujin_2 // 15 March, 2015 at 9:57 pm //

    Haven’t you learned to love your kotatsu already as well? Actually in my house we don’t even have one and we just rely on our kerosene space heaters. One other trick you might try: I bought a cheap (~¥3,000), small electric blanket that only uses 40W. I put it on my desk chair and wrap it around the lower half of my body (waist to ankles).

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