Saturday, March 10, 2007

Sweet liberation

Ever since I came to Japan, we have had to rely on kerosene for heating and sometimes for hot water. You either have to go and get it, or wait around for somebody to bring it to you. And it stinks, as liquid and as exhaust. It is a very un-ideal heat source. And we're going to be free of it in two weeks' time.

In our current house, we have two jerry cans for decanting into kerosene fan heaters, and a tank round the back of the house for hot water. The tank has to be kept filled, which means going behind the house and checking the kero level gauge. Forget about it and your water will suddenly go cold on you (we never let this happen, primarily because the compost heap which I visit daily is located next to the tank, so it was easy to check it). When somebody is using hot water, the metal boiler emits a stinky exhaust which blows in through any open window. Nice!

Every Saturday, a smelly kerosene truck comes round playing a loud, obnoxious jingle with a child singing about huddling around the bonfire. A very obsequious young man pumps out the Devil's Tea into your jerry cans and boiler tank while you stand around shivering. If you happen to want to be somewhere else between 10 and 11 am on Saturday morning, well, too bad.

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