Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Heated maxi pads (and other ways to stay warm in Japan)


Winter can be particularly cruel in Japan, a land without central heating, insulation, and double-glazed windows. Paper-thin walls and flimsy windows conspire to let the cold in and the heat out. As a result, an entire industry has sprung up around keeping people warm indoors.

Winter in Japan is all about the heated toilet seats, canned coffee, high-tech underwear, hot water bottles, space heaters, heated carpets, electric blankets, hand warmers, fleece blankets and, my personal favourite, the kotatsu. There's nothing more snuggley than a kotatsu (a kotatsu is basically a coffee table with an electric heater screwed to its underside. A big, fluffy duvet goes between the frame and the table-top. You sit on the floor with your legs under the table and the lower half of your body covered by the duvet, which traps the heat from under the table. It's a lovely womb-like contraption.)

This year, there is one more way to stay warm in Japan: heated maxi pads.



The thinking behind this product is that warming up your crotch will also warm up your core. Sort of like peeing your pants but without the odour and wetness.

The pads use the same technology as disposable hand warmers. A thin hand warmer is attached to the underside of the maxi pad, which produces heat when the iron inside it is exposed to air. The manufacturer warns against sitting for extended periods of time while using the pads (to avoid burning your lady bits). And even though they're maxi pads you're not supposed to use them when you're on your period. They seem to be getting good reviews from the Japanese ladies but I think I'll stick with more conventional ways to stay warm.

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