Someone on facebook just posted this amazing blog post about keeping warm through winter in Japan. The joke is that Japanese buildings don’t have insulation and the way they heat their homes is ridiculously expensive, not to mention dangerous.
I am very, very happy to report that Germany is very different to Japan. My apartment is old but the walls are lovely and thick and my room is nice and toasty without having to go OTT on the radiator. At the end of last winter, when my heating bill came through I was outraged because my share was 200 euros (shared with my old flatmate). But when I think back to how much I was spending on kerosene in Japan, 200 euros is a bargain.
My Japanese flatmate lived in Germany for a year, but some things about western life still baffle her. I taught her how to drain her radiator the other day, which confused her no end. The heating/electricity companies work very differently here, too. Firstly, they predict how much electricity you’ll use in a quarter/half year, then when that time is up they’ll either ask for a little bit more money if you went over, or give you back if you didn’t use as much as they had thought. I got a lovely 150 euro payback last year because my German flatmate and I didn’t overuse stuff. I think the situation will be different this time round…
With the heating, we have little machines on our radiators which calculate how much we’ve used each individual one. This is great because my flatmate can use all the energy she likes and only she’ll be charged for it. The radiators in the kitchen and bathroom will be shared.
It got to “feel factor” minus 20 last winter. The actual temperature was something like minus 7, but the wind brought it down so much lower. I survived through by enjoying mulled wine at the xmas market, but I also followed the locals in stocking up on good quality clothes and boots. Say what you want about German style (and I often do..) they know their quality products. I spent out on some leather boots last year that were good for the whole season – they look very worn now because I really did over wear them, but they are still good. They were actually actually Japanese (or at least had a Japanese brand name..) but this year I have invested in some German boots.
German people seem to put quality over style, which explains their crazy love for Jack Wolfskin clothes (though according to the boyfriend, Jack’s coats aren’t as high quality as it may seem…) But it’s best to follow the locals and invest in an ugly massive puffy coat. I didn’t last year – I survived with my wool coat with a hoodie underneath (layering FTW) but I am considering buying the prettiest ugly puffy coat I can find.
Up until xmas I don’t mind it being cold and wet and horrible. But once the Christmas market is gone, and once Christmas is over it does suck quite a bit. Do you have any tips on staying warm in winter? Let me know if you do!