Lacking central heating and decent insulation, many Japanese homes are wicked cold in winter. Hence the Kotatsu. A brilliant Japanese invention that has evolved from a 14th century cooking hearth to a hybrid daybed and table, the Kotatsu has its own heat source that keeps families warm when drafty houses are too expensive to heat. Here the family will gather for meals, drink tea and take the world's most epic naps.
The most commonly used Kotatsu today is comprised of a table with a comfortable blanket or futon topped with a flat table. Attached to the table is an electric heater, which distributes heat from the user’s legs to their neck – at least that was how they were designed, complementing traditional Japanese clothing. There’s plenty of height between the ground and the table for daytime resting, but according to Wikipedia, Japanese parents typically discourage their children from sleeping under the Kotatsu overnight.
The children are told they will get colds if they sleep under the Kotatsu, since their bodies won’t be evenly warmed, but parents are more concerned about kids getting burned. Also it seems to me, particularly since some of the newer incarnations of this traditional piece of minimalist furniture incorporate plastic and other flammable materials, they probably pose something of a safety hazard.
That said, any reservations I have about safety would be quickly overruled by my love of comfortable furniture. Have you seen how ridiculously cozy the Kotatsu looks? I predict many long afternoon naps in my future.
Via Bored Panda