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Gaijin Buying Kotatsu

I don’t know if this makes me an appreciator of Japanese culture, a weeb, or just someone who wastes money.  Maybe any combination of the above, or all three.

But I bought a kotatsu.

(It’s a little messy, I just put it together. I’ll post another pic when it’s fully integrated into my house.  All those little styrofoam fragments are always annoying.)

The shipper sent it in two packages. This is the first, which is just the table.  The second will contain the quilt and, I assume, the heater.  The table was fairly easy to assemble (though I ended up using my own ratchet wrench instead of the really lame little plastic thing they provided).  It feels about the same quality as an Ikea piece of furniture, but Japanese instead of Swedish.  That is to say, if it weren’t a Japanese product, I’d probably not be too impressed.  However, this is about the same build quality that an actual Japanese family might expect, so I’m getting a genuine experience.

I’m okay with that, for that reason.

Don’t read that as “It’s Japanese so I can forgive inferior quality”, read it more as “It’s Japanese, so I’m getting genuine Japanese furniture of about the same quality that people in Japan might get in their everyday lives”.

I actually am of mixed feelings about this.  I remember seeing an SNL skit where a couple of high school students were doing a show about Japanese culture, and ended up making an absolute cringey mess of it all (to the point where their teacher was just telling them they were being straight up racist) and that’s the last thing I want to become.  I spend a great deal of introspection trying to avoid doing absolutely that.  Sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing, but I for sure don’t want to be a cringey mess like a lot of otaku and weebs are.  So this isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of my respect for Japanese culture.

But on the other hand, it is.  This cost me a pretty penny.  I didn’t spend it on anime figurines or manga (though I did buy some manga), I didn’t spend it on anime posters or idol group CDs or anything like that.  I got something that actually brings me closer to actual Japanese culture – and can keep me toasty in winter as a bonus.  Maybe that says something good about me.

Maybe.

Or maybe I’m just a cringey weeb.

I guess I’ve got enough evidence on this blog to say one way or other.

I have, in passing, considered getting some other things that are Japanese or quasi-Japanese.  Some of those rice paper partitions might be cool.  I’d get a rice cooker but it’s not exactly compatible with my diet anyway.  And a Shinto or Buddhist altar would definitely be authentic Japanese but I think I’ll pass.  Reason 1:  It’s not really respectful because I’d just be using it as decoration.  And reason 2:  I’m at least nominally a Christian and if I’m just going to have it around for decoration, there’s really no point.  I’d be disrespecting two religions, and without a good reason, I’d rather not.

I would if I had a good reason (I have no problems at all with both heresy and irreverence), but I don’t.

Well, that’s my adventure in failing as a Japanese fanboy, I guess.  If it’s cringey, just add it to the friggin’ list.  It’s likely to not even reach the top ten of cringey things I’ll do (mostly by accident) this year.

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