The Analog Life: 5 Ways to Save on Power While Living in Japan

  • HOW TO
  • Power bills, although relatively cheap in Japan, can creep up on you. Rice cookers. Air conditioners. Hair curlers – if you’re into that sort of thing. They just eat up the juice. Thankfully, there is another way. Analog living!


    My house was built mid-WWII. Therefore, it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of electrical capacity. This goes for many apartments as well, the breakers trip constantly forcing you to choose between air conditioning, or the microwave, the toaster oven, or the coffee maker. Hopefully these tips will help you trip less breakers, save more cash on your power bill, and help the environment a little.

    1. Clay VS Electric Rice Cookers


    Although pretty, and prone to making noises, rice cookers are expensive, and eat a lot of power. They are multi-functional, making cakes and whatnot, at the end of the day nothing beats a clay pot for rice cooking. Cheap to buy. Cheap to run. Delicious living.


    I am more of a fan of clay pot rice, than electric cooked rice anyway, slightly browned on the edges. Yum yum.

    2. Fans VS Air Conditioners


    Although the A/C is more effective, fans are much more reasonable on the power bill and the circuit breakers. There are a ton of options, circular fans, tower fans, fans that have a drawer for ice to blow even cooler air on you when you need it. Of course, in brutal heat and humidity, turn on the A/C, but remember it can be expensive.

    That is why you often see people retreating to shopping centres on hot days, cool, free to roam, and lots of places to sit. You can even get character themed fans, if that is your thing.

    3. Instant Coffee Sticks VS Coffee Makers


    Unless you drink a lot of coffee, a coffee maker is just a drain on power, eats up kitchen space, and can be a pain to clean. I do have a French press for emergencies, such as 4 people all wanting coffee at once, but for the most part I live off of instant.


    So many flavours are available, you can change the taste to what you feel like enjoying in the morning!

    4. A Kettle VS Hot Water Pots


    Everyone loves hot water on demand, and water boilers or hot water pots are all the rage in offices, houses, and schools. Although handy, and not REALLY power sucking compared to other appliances, something that is on 24/7 will still eat the juice. A standard kettle on a gas range will do the trick just fine.


    If you are bent on electric, get one of the ones that you turn on when you need it, rather than the always on kind.

    5. Kerosene Stoves VS Electric Stoves or Heating Blankets


    I love heating blankets, I really do. Warm and toasty. The same goes for electric heaters, less risk of fire and no need to bring home fossil fuels with your groceries. However, kerosene fan heaters have a few advantages.

    They come with timers, so you can toast up your bedroom before nap time, and will automatically shut off after about an hour or two if you set it accordingly. They produce a more moist heat, rather than dry, when compared to electric. The final great point about these is that you have to buy the fuel beforehand, therefore you know exactly how much you are spending. This beats creating a tropical paradise in your home, only to have a heart attack when the bill comes at the end of the month.


    Hopefully the above products will help you live life a little more ecologically and energy friendly in Japan. After all, we all have to make changes and small sacrifices to change the earth, why not save some money in the process?

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