Tuesday, 8 November 2011

"Protecting smiles with fire-safety mind"

The Autumn Fire Prevention Campaign has begun! In our town, fire volunteers will tour the town from 7-10pm every night for a week and there will be a parade with 14 fire engines and other fire prevention vehicles. So nobody even light a match during that time because there will be no staff or vehicles available. This year's campaign slogans are, as usual, in Japlish rendering them unintelligible to Japanese and foreigners alike.

The installation of fire alarms only became mandatory in April this year. A maintenance guy turned up to install them in my place while I was watching a documentary on the origins of Fleetwood Mac (the Peter Green years) and we got on like a house on fi ... sorry. He was an old hippy; when he wasn't doing maintenance, he and his son played in a band. Sometimes you meet the coolest people at the oddest times.
So winter is on its way. Japanese homes have poor insulation and no central heating, so keeping warm is a mish-mash of kotatsu (a table with a heater underneath to keep your legs warm), hot carpet (keeps your bum cheeks warm but little else) and giant padded jackets. A lot of homes use kerosene heaters and it is not uncommon to see students with their eyebrows singed off from having the dial turned up too high when they turned it on. Which is why the annual fire prevention campaign is so important. First world country, third world heating. Smile!

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