Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happy New Year! Are you warm enough?

In the Willow's Shadow - News from Flower City

Happy New Year!
I'm excited about for the year ahead!

Are you warm enough?
How do you stay warm?

Winter is cold in the eastern US and people heat the air in their houses in order to stay warm.

In traditional eastern American houses, people don't take off their shoes when they go inside. Yet, it is clear when Americans enter a house. Outside, in "nature," it is cold; inside, in the house, it is significantly warmer.

The traditional building style of many houses in the eastern US can be traced to traditional houses in Europe. There, walls are very thick and made of stone or brick, or wattle and daub (a mixture of soil, straw, and animal dung, held in place by wooden strips). The houses of commoners were very small, often one room; one hearth could heat the whole room. The houses of the rich had large rooms that, even with fireplaces, were often cold.

In the twentieth century, with the use of electric, gas, or oil powered air conditioners, houses were built with thin walls and large rooms. Cheap energy meant that houses could be heated with large rooms and thin walls.

Here, in Kyoto, many old houses have thin walls made from wood, paper, or glass. The walls easily slide open, and there is often a gap above the wall. The garden is also mixed in with the house. For many Americans on their first trip to Japan, it seems hard to know where "inside" starts or "outside" ends.

People here in Kyoto do use gas, oil, and electric heaters and air conditioners, but in a house designed in the traditional style, heating all the air of the room is very difficult. The warm air escapes very quickly!

Instead, people heat the floor, the carpet, the blanket, the table, and themselves with baths and personal "kairo" heat packs. After going to the bath, even a very cold house seems warm!






大抵USの東の伝統的な家の建築はもともとヨーロパの建築ですね。ヨーロパの伝統的な建築で壁はあついです。壁の材料は石やブリックや wattle and daubと言うまぜた事。ふつの人の家はちさいーひとつのへやはふつでした。一つのストーブがそのへやheatできます。お金持ちの家は広くてさむい。





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