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Tweet of the Week #62: Humidifier Adds Fire Instead of Moisture to the Air

Review your Japanese adverbs of time with this week's viral tweet!

By 3 min read

Japanese dry winter air is the worst.

As soon as the humid typhoon season reaches a welcome end, the weather turns to dry air mode, sucking every drop of moisture from the atmosphere.

Cold air creeping into homes causes the indoor humidity to fall below 30 percent for most of the winter. In a matter of days, you begin to experience seasonal symptoms like dry skin, chapped lips, and a sore throat.

To combat the parched air, almost everyone in Japan uses humidifiers, called 加湿器かしつき. Running a humidifier along with your can heater help add moisture to the air for a more comfortable humidity level, usually between 30 and 50%.

However, humidifiers aren’t an ideal solution.

When water makes fire

On the flipside, humidifiers have a well-worn reputation as germ and bacteria incubators. Thanks to this week’s tweet pick, we can add being a fire hazard to the list of cons, too.

This Gunma-based Twitter user had quite a scare when his fire alarm woke him up in the middle of the night.



= When I was sleeping, the fire alarm went off as the humidifier was on fire and for the first time in my life I called 119. I put the fire out immediately with the fire extinguisher*, but it turned into a big fuss with the firefighters, police and gas company all coming. 

*消化器しょうかき (digestive organs) should actually be 消火器.しょうかき See, even Japanese people make kanji mistakes!

Luckily no one was hurt. But it proves that humidifiers might not be the harmless home accessories they’re made out to be!

Review your adverbs of time

In his misfortune, our humidifier owner can consider himself lucky. Because he lives in an apartment building, he quickly found a fire extinguisher in the corridor and could immediately smother the flames before things got worse.

Adverbs of time and frequency hold quite an important place in the Japanese language since there’s basically only a present and past tense. Here’s a quick list for you to review your basics.

  • いつも = always
  • よく = often
  • 時々ときどき = sometimes
  • 全然ぜんぜん = never
  • ずっと = all the time, always
  • まだ = not yet, still
  • しばらく= for a while
  • きゅうに = suddenly
  • いま = now
  • ただいま = right now
  • そのとき = then
  • あとで = later
  • すでに = already
  • 最近さいきん = recently
  • すぐに = soon, shortly
  • いますぐに = right now


Japanese Romaji English
加湿器かしつき kashitsuki humidifier
neru sleep
える moeru burn, on fire
火災報知器かさいほうちき kasaihouchiki fire alarm
ジャンジャン jyanjyan onomatopoeia: noise of a bell
naru ring
人生じんせいはじめて jinsei de hajimete first time in one’s life
119ひゃくじゅうきゅう hyakujyuukyuu emergency number
hi fire
消火器しょうかき shoukaki fire extinguisher
すぐ sugu shortly, soon
kesu extinguish, put out a fire
けど kedo but
消防しょうぼう shoubou fire department
警察けいさつ keisatsu police
ガス gasu ya gas company, gas shop
kuru come
大騒動おおそうどう oosoudou  big fuss
いつも itsumo always
よく yoku often
時々ときどき tokidoki sometimes
全然ぜんぜん zenzen never
ずっと zutto all the time, always
まだ mada not yet, still
しばらく shibaraku for a while
きゅう kyuu ni suddenly
いま ima  now
ただいま tadaima right now
そのとき sono toki then
あと ato de later
すでに sude ni already
最近さいきん saikin recently
すぐに sugu ni soon, shortly
いますぐに ima sugu ni right now

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