Tag Archives: insulation

How Cold Is an Old Japanese House in Winter?

I’m currently staying at the in-laws, and the grandmother’s house is old. Coming from Canada, I was used to central heating and good insulation. Well, take a look at this.

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That’s right, only 5 degrees Celsius! We slept through that. We could see our breath. Even my much newer apartment gets pretty cold inside. The houses here are built so you can open the windows in summer and get a breeze going through the house. This was before the widespread use of air conditioners. It gets very hot and humid here in summer. Construction techniques have improved, but still has a long way to go together to western standards for keeping comfortable temperatures. The houses are built well for earthquakes, though.

Have you ever stayed in a very cold house before? Leave your experiences in the comments below. I’d love to read about them.

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The Reason I Hate Winter

Let me tell you a little story about what life is like in winter in Japan.

There is very little insulation in apartment buildings and houses.  The windows are drafty, the doors are drafty.  There are open vents to the outside in the bathroom.  Sure, you can heat a home in winter, but it costs a fortune to use the air conditioner, and an oil or electric heater could be dangerous for my daughter to be around.  It’s incredibly cold inside.  The only warm place is in bed or while taking a shower or bath.  All other times, my fingers are cold, and in a constant fetal position when I’m sitting down.

Central heating would be nice.  Insulation would be nice.  Double or triple glazed windows would be nice.  That’s what I miss about Canada.  It may be cold outside, but at least you can keep it comfortably warm inside.