Monthly Archives: December 2013

Balmy New Hampshire

In four days I’m flying to my parents’ house in the U.S. to spend Christmas with my family. I’m looking forward to how warm it will be in New Hampshire.

 For that sentence to make sense, there are a couple of things you need to know about my context:

1. Japanese schools don’t hire janitors, so at a designated time each day all of the students and faculty pause for about fifteen minutes to clean. 

2. The hallways and unused rooms in a building are not heated. 

3. The music teacher only comes on Thursdays and Fridays.

4. This is Tuesday.

5. I clean in the music room because the small numbers of students there (one kid in the music room, one in the instrument room) makes the atmosphere more conducive to conversation.

6. Today I considered cleaning in a different spot, maybe even staying in the warm teacher’s room and, I don’t know, wiping off my desk or something. As we transitioned into cleaning time, however, the vice principal walked by and opened up all of the windows. At least upstairs the windows are closed…

7. A thermometer hangs outside of the instrument room. I don’t know why, it just does. Today it read 1.5 degrees Celsius. That’s 34 degrees Fahrenheit. 

8. At night I am required to turn off my heating apparatus while I sleep. This isn’t too bad, as the heater does have a timer and I tell it to turn on about an hour before I wake up. 

 My mother is frugal, and keeps the house at about 65. If she remembers to turn on the heat. I used to consider this cold bordering on arctic, but after the temperatures I deal with here in Japan, my parents’ house in New Hampshire seems positively balmy.

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