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Tweet of the Week

Learn Japanese with what's going viral in the Twitterverse.

By 3 min read

It’s a perfect winter morning. The sky is a bright, cloudless blue and the frost glitters in the sunlight. You’re sipping a hot cup of coffee in your warm living room, gazing at the picturesque scenery through the window while relishing in the comfort of that oh-so-cozy indoor feeling.

And then you wake up. Your fingers and toes are numb, puffs of icy air coming from your mouth, back in the reality of your typical Japanese apartment featuring a unit bathroom, paper-thin walls and absolutely no insulation whatsoever.

Oh yeah, that was just your daydreaming mind trying to forget.

Winter is coming. Right into your bedroom.

In Japan’s eastern and western regions most homes are built to endure the hot and humid summer, favoring ventilation over insulation. For many, winters here can be cruel. Often temperatures inside can end up even lower than outside, forcing you to seek warmth anywhere but your own home.

Hailing from Sapporo on the northern island of Hokkaido (one of the coldest areas of the country) user @nog67 tweeted about the temperature shock he experienced when traveling down… south.

冬に長野県の古い旅館に泊まったことがあるんだけど、凍死するかと思ったよw = I’ve stayed at an old ryokan (inn) in Nagano Prefecture during winter and I thought I would freeze to death lol

This infographic about morning temperatures in bedrooms across Japan’s prefectures reveals how, for the most part, homes in Japan are poorly insulated and cold during winter.

Interestingly enough, Hokkaido and the northern prefectures, where the average temperature in winter is around -4°C, rank the highest with room temperatures between 18 and 20°C.

Surprisingly, in Nagano, a mountainous region where heavy snow falls during winter and which has an average temperature of -5°C, the bedroom temperature falls all the way to under 10°C. Brr!

Talking about your past experiences with ことがある

Combined with a verb in the past tense, the expression ことがある is useful when talking about something you have done before (or have never done before).

The phrase emphasizes the experience rather than the action itself or the particular time you did the action.

Here’s how to form it:

  • Verb (plain past) + ことがある = have done, have the experience of
  • Verb (plain past) + ことがない = haven’t done, haven’t the experience of

Example sentences:

  • 寿司を食べたことがある。= I have eaten sushi before/I have experienced eating sushi.
  • 納豆を食べたことがない。= I have never eaten natto/I have experienced eating natto.

If you want to specify the time or the context during which you did the action, you have to use the simple past instead.

  • 先週、寿司を食べました。= Last week, I ate sushi.
  • 日本に行った時、納豆を食べました。= When I went to Japan, I ate natto.


Japanese Romaji English
ふゆ fuyu winter
長野県 ながのけん nagano ken Nagano Prefecture
ふる furui old
旅館 りょかん ryokan Japanese traditional inn
まる tomaru to stay at, to lodge
けど kedo but
凍死 とうしする toushi suru to freeze to death
おも omou to think
あさ asa morning
きる okiru to wake up
とき toki when
寝室 しんしつ shinshitsu bedroom
温度 おんど ondo temperature
寿司 すし sushi sushi
べる taberu to eat
納豆 なっとう nattou natto
先週 せんしゅう senshu last week
日本にほん nihon Japan
iku to go

If you’re experiencing a similar situation to @nog67, check out these general tips to surviving a Japanese winterbeating the seasonal blues and keeping your house mold free.

Sigh. At least we have Netflix.

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