5 must-have items to warm you up this winter
Here are some of the best ideas to make your winter more enjoyable.
As I moved to Japan, I stopped driving a car and started getting around by bike and public transportation, which forced me to find ways not to freeze in winter. Asking family and friends over the years made me discover the best items ever in the Japanese market to survive the cold.
Heattech is a new collection that UNIQLO, a Japanese clothing brand, invented to keep us warm all winter at any freezing temperature.
Its fabric is made from bio-warming material that converts body moisture into heat, it is stretchy, soft, and cheap. Sounds like magic, huh?
They have a wide variety of items to choose from: long-sleeves, tank tops, turtle-necks, leggings, socks, scarves, and hats! Get a whole set of these, and you'll never feel cold this winter.
The collection includes three lines that have three levels of warmth: HEATTECH, HEATTECH Extra Warm and HEATTECH Ultra Warm.
I usually buy the classic HEATTECH line tops because it's the thinnest type, and it doesn't get too hot when I get on the train to go to work, and I get the HEATTECH Extra Warm bottoms because they're warm enough to be worn alone.
They recently released new HEATTECH items, like jeans and outerwear, so you don't need to layer too much underneath the clothes, which makes it very convenient and comfortable to wear.
2/ HEAT PACK
Here's a cozy invention that keeps us warm when we're outdoor: the heat pack!
They're self-heating and one-time use. Besides the classic one that heats up and you hold in your hands, there are ones that you can stick to your clothes, packs for your shoes, and heated eye masks for quick relaxing naps.
Some packs are made to relieve back pain..
.. and even mentrual discomfort.
When it gets really cold I find it the most useful when I have stomachache, so I keep a couple sticking packs in my bag ready to use in case I need it when I'm outdoor.
The type you put in your shoes are also super helpful, but it made them a little tight, so it wouldn't be my first choice.
You can find them in drug stores, convenient stores, and even on amazon!
Kotatsu is a tabletop connected to a blanket equipped with a heater.
When I first came to Japan, I was surprised that most houses are not well insulated and lack central heating. So when I asked a few friends for a solution to stay warm at home, they recommended me a kotatsu.
When you want to study, work from home, or enjoy a meal while staying warm, it is a great choice. It also saves electricity since it warms the spot you're using without the need for a heater for the whole room, and the blanket keeps the warmth for long periods.
I got one from Amazon for about 10,000 yen. I think it was a great price because the blanket is removable, and I can utilize the table in summer too.
However, I wouldn't recommend sleeping under it because last time I did so, I touched the heater with my leg, and I sightly burned myself.
As more people are starting to care about the environment, the sales of flasks and water bottles are increasing. However, in Asia, the use of flasks it's always been quite common due to their habit of drinking tea as opposed to water during the day.
You can see office workers on the train, students in bookstores, elderly couples taking a walk, and children heading to school, all holding their water bottles.
I have a friend that loves going on hikes, and he brings the flask with hot water in it, with the sole purpose of cooking his instant noodles when he reaches the top of the hill. He uses a flask from Montbell because this Japanese brand specializes in making outdoor gear, and it is easy to open even when you wear gloves in winter.
After seeing so many people using it, I decided to give it a try. Besides saving the money spent at convenience stores, and lots of plastic, it keeps my beverage warm for my entire day. I either put simple hot water to keep myself hydrated and warm when I'm outdoor, or cafe latte in the mornings.
I chose a bottle from Hydro Flask because it is easy to wash and I can attach it to my bag.
Here's another environmentally-friendly choice. Yutampo means "hot water bottle" and you use it to warm you in bed at night.
They exist in other countries too, but they are made out of soft rubber. In Japan, you can find metal or hard plastic water bottles.
You fill it with hot water (about 70 degrees Celsius) and cover it with a soft fabric or ready to use covers they usually sell together. You place it under your bed sheet near your feet and you'll stay asleep all night.
I am currently using one from Muji. It is made of hard plastic so it's light and easy to bring in my little suitcase for small trips.
Japanese winters are harsher than it seems, but they also thought of solutions to survive them. These were the must-haves I recommend. If you have the chance to get your hands on one of them let me know what you think!
Hey there! My name is Michelle, I'm half Italian and half Taiwanese. I moved to Osaka 4 years ago and Japan is still full of surprises. I've studied, worked, hustled and traveled, to get a taste of it, check out my blog posts!
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