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Hi, I’m Karolina from Sweden, but everyone calls me キャロー(Kyaro).

Right now I’m sitting on the third floor in the building next to Nishi-Ogikubo station, where Melting Pot is located, and looking out over snow covered roofs and power lines. I’m feeling very grateful for the heater, the hot coffee, and the warm company of the café’s manager.

 It’s times like these that I think about the endless times people react with the ‘Oh your country must be so cold!!’ every time I say that I’m from Sweden.

 By the way, we had around 9 degrees when I went back during Christmas. Sure, Sweden is generally colder than Tokyo, but Japan is a lot more than just Tokyo.

 I also come from the southern parts of Sweden, so I don’t have as much snow or as low temperatures as the northern parts. But at least when I get home in the evening after a long day at work or school I’m not met by a room at 11 degrees and a bed that feels like has been touched by Elsa from Frozen. Which is my everyday life in Japan. At least I am currently living in a dorm where the electricity bill is included so I can blast the heater from the moment I get home, but I dread the day I have to move out and will continue my life as an icicle… Although, I have to say that I’m actually not that big of a fan of heaters either. Why not? You might think. Well, the air gets so stuffy and it easily gets too hot. Whenever I forget to turn on my humidifier during the night I always wake up with a sore throat. I guess these are all thing I will get used to over time. As well as I learn how all the differences in the climate affects the actions one need to implement in one’s everyday life.

Especially in Japan I have noticed that I need to remember how the humidity affects different things around the house, such as it is easier for things to get moldy. (I always thought that the reason people put away their futon everyday was to utilize the space better, it didn’t even cross my mind that if you don’t put it away it might get moldy…). But to get back to the topic about winter in Tokyo, I do love a snow-covered Tokyo. Sure, everything gets temporarily shut down and it the trains are packed, if you’re lucky enough that they are still moving. But it is just so incredibly pretty. When it snows, it usually snows enough for it to stay on the ground for a few days. Then it melts away after a few days, just before you have the time to get tired of it and the inconvenience it brings with slippery roads, and not to mention the cold…

Another thing I appreciate about the Japanese winter is how bright it is. Not only that the sun is up for a few hours longer every day compared to Sweden, most days are actually very sunny and bright. Which is not the case back the city where I grew up. The never-ending grey and gloomy days makes you almost think that the world has turned monochrome. Or at least that someone turned down the saturation more than ever would be necessary. So in the end, I guess you can’t have it all, and by living in different countries you learn to appreciate thing that you previously might have taken for granted. But you will also start question the things you used to think of as ‘the norm’. So even if it might seem as trivial things, they are all a part of understanding the people around you, how they think, and maybe why they think and act the way they do. I know that I have started to understand both myself, as a born and raised Swede, as well as my friends in Japan more since moving here. Getting the opportunity to experience the everyday life, with all it’s ups and downs, has taught me so much, and cannot recommend it enough.  So if you ever get a chance to live in a country different from where you grew up- take the chance! You can always (usually) go back home if you really don’t feel like it was anything for you. Because regretting not giving it a try, is for me one of the worst types of regrets!

  See you!
キャロー

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