Can't Live Without It

There are a number of things that have become a regular part of my life which I never used, rarely used, or didn't even know existed before coming to Japan. After almost three years, I am amazed that I could have ever lived without these gadgets and lifestyle changes!

Rice Cooker: Yes, we had a rice cooker in Canada and grew up using them fairly regularly. However, I never really experienced rice making in all its glory until I used a Japanese rice maker. These bad boys have about a billion features, are surprisingly expensive, and make much more than just awesome rice. They even sell ones with English buttons in the duty free shop at the airport. Ours is definitely coming home with us.

Cooking Chopsticks: They are awesome. If you have never used chopsticks for cooking, you really need to give it a try. Cooking chopsticks are larger than regular table chopsticks and come in various lengths. There are just some things, like beating eggs, flipping bacon, stirring just about anything, and testing the doneness of noodles that are made so much easier with chopsticks.

This is what a toilet is supposed to look like
Heated Toilet Seat: All my life I have suffered through freezing ass, cold toilet seats thinking that there was no real solution to my misery. I used to sit on my hands instead of suffering the insult to my cheeks. Our house can get cold in Japan, but no matter how cold it gets, day or night, sitting on the toilet never makes you wince. I don't think I can ever go back to the primitively cold toilet seats in North America. Luckily for me, Dustin and I discovered that you can buy them in America too. If you disagree with me, I will have to pull out a famous quote by my sister: "This conversation is over until you've tried it".

Water gets sucked into the circular metal intake within the
tub, reheated to whatever temperature you have set on the
control panel, and shot back into the tub again. Genius!
Bathtub Water Reheater: Once again, I have always hated how bathtub water cools down and forces you to get out of what was a relaxing, hot bath. This is especially true when you are bathing in Canada in the winter and the surrounding tub seems to suck all the heat out of your water, especially when you are bathing young children who want to stay in forever. Yes, you can put more hot water in but that is just a waste of water. I really don't understand why tubs back home don't come with a water reheater.

My first attempt at Hiroshima style okonomiyaki
Electric Griddle and Takoyaki Maker: Dustin really likes making pancakes and the boys really like eating them but I have always thought a griddle, especially an electric one, was a waste of space. That was until friends of ours gave us an extra one they had kicking around their house. It makes really good pancakes and has made it possible for us to make okonomiyaki and takoyaki whenever we feel like it.

Takoyaki browning on the griddle

Table Top Burner: We love nabe. As soon as the weather gets cold in the fall, the table top propane burner gets whipped out on a nearly daily basis. It is also great for camping in the summer. I can't believe we didn't own one before we moved here!

Deluxe Double Mama Chari: When I first came to Japan, I took one look at the kid's seats on the bikes and thought, "that is so incredibly dangerous. I would never, ever ride with my children in one of those". A few months went past and my thoughts changed to, "Okay, the bikes with one child seat look okay, but I will never be crazy enough to try and bike with two kids on my bike"! Now, three years later, I fully embrace the double mama chari. It is a very common sight to see moms and dads lugging around an extra 35 or so kilos of child on their bicycle so I am nowhere near the only one doing this. I am pretty sure that mothers back home would be given a lot of flack for choosing this method of transportation but I have come to realize it is actually safe and very practical, especially when you don't own a car. I might even argue that your child is in more danger while driving in a car, even when they are in a car seat.

Kotatsu: If you have no idea what this is, you can read about it right here. This is one of the best furniture purchases that we have made. Having a table that heats underneath is not just fun and comfortable, it allows you to save money on those freezing winter evenings by turning the heat down and relying on the kotatsu for warmth. It is especially awesome for game nights when everyone is sitting around a table anyway.

Free Delivery Within Days of an Online Purchase: Compared with Canada, we have moved to an online shopping wonderland. I can buy nearly anything online and sometimes the next morning it will arrive at my house for free. We have received deliveries on holidays, weekends, early in the morning, and late in the evening. This might just have to do with the postal service and delivery companies being so fantastic, but whatever the case is, my online shopping has drastically increased since moving here. At the moment I buy about 20% of our household goods and groceries online. If I had it my way, I would never have to go to a grocery store again.

Snow Cone Maker: I know this sounds kind of ridiculous and believe me, I held out on buying one of these for a while. Good friends of ours got one for us though and it has changed our life for the better. Nothing is more awesome on a blisteringly hot day than a cup full of fluffy shaved ice smothered in brightly coloured syrup. The kids love it and it is a much healthier, cheaper alternative to ice cream. Why have I never owned one of these before?

There are certainly more things that we have started doing or using more of since coming here and maybe someday I will update this list. For those of you that moved to another country, what little things have you adopted into your life?


Carol said...

Those are all such good appliances! I've always liked using an electric frying pan, as it heats a large surface evenly. I wish I had had a bathwater heater in the past. I have never understood women's love of soaking in a hot bath, as the water doesn 't stay hot for long, and besides, it's boring unless you bring a book in with you.

I'm glad you are blogging again! Your blog updates are always so interesting.

Anonymous said...

wow. great post idea!
and, yowzers!, heated toilet seats and re-heating bathtub water?! brilliant!
also love your background photo.
I'll have to put some thought into whether we've adopted any new things since being here... i'm thinking they'll mostly be European rather than Gasy. :-)

Unknown said...

It is amazing how quickly we start to take all these things for granted....

Laura said...

Jocelyn, I am really curious what things you have incorporated into your life in the past few years! Maybe you'll have to write a post about it sometime. Just like Joanne said, it doesn't take too much time before you start taking them for granted. I guess that's why it's good I'm blogging about it now :)

BlackKitty said...

WOW, this is NOT the post to read just before leaving Japan! (^_~) Now I want to buy/pack at least half of these away with us!
But great post as usual! (^_^)v

Shanon said...

Heated toilet seat? I, too, have sat on my hands to avoid assaulting my thighs to the cold toilet seat. I must see if I can get one of those!