After watching several episodes of the Minami-ke anime featuring the girls all hanging around and enjoying their Kotatsu I have become sentimental, and yearning to return to my younger days.

     First let me explain, when I was younger I spent nine years in the active army, I was stationed in South Korea from the beginning of 1987 though the end of 1988. After a couple of weeks in country I met a nice local girl and we started dating, but her parents were always hassling us about all the time we spent at her parents place, so we decided to get a local apartment together, I was 22 at the time and she was 19.

     So we rented a very small, and very cheap apartment, it was roughly 400-425 square feet in size, one room with a small bathroom, and a storage closet for the foldaway sleeping futon and other items. In our apartment, the center of attention was the television/stereo entertainment center, so everything basically revolved around that.

    Well, I don’t know if anyone here has every lived in a traditional Japanese/Korean style apartment, but back then, the apartments were very poorly insulated and heated, our apartment was heated by Odol (a firebox distributes heated gases under the floor, heating the floor and not much else), so we purchased a local version of a Japanese Kotatsu (heated table).

     So, especially in the fall, and winter the Kotatsu was the center of the apartment, when I would arrive home after my workday, and she would return home from school and work, we would eat, drink, play cards, watch TV, hangout with friends, and a lot of times just sleep at the Kotatsu, it’s really nice and toasty under a Kotatsu especially with your sweetheart next to you.

      So, in the interest of reliving my more youthful days this summer I will put my building skills, and also my bargain hunting skills to the test by constructing my very own Kotatsu. This Kotatsu will be slightly modified for use by westerners, westerners (Americans) are on the whole, larger and require more room than your typical Asian, I’m 5′-9” or 174cms, so my Kotatsu needs a little more room.

     You might ask, why not just buy a real Japanese one or buy a cheap Chinese import?  Well, a real Japanese import like the one in the top picture cost around $595 for the table, $280 for the comforter, $150-200 for the Kotatsu mat/rug plus $40-50 each for the seating cushions, for a total of $1200-1300 for a real Japanese setup. I’ll reject any idea of buying a cheap Chinese knockoff because I’m not going to have to worry about the safety of the Chinese heating unit, I don’t want to take the chance of burning my house down to save a few bucks.

     So, my budget for this project will be $325 for everything, table, heater, comforter, rug, and cushions. The other day I made my first purchase, while buying a poster frame at a local craft store I saw in the housewares sections cushions/throw pillows on clearance, 40% off plus buy one get one free, so bought 6 nice and soft bamboo patterned throw pillows of $30 leaving me with $295 to complete the project. I’ll post regular updates and pictures as this project progresses.