We’ve been adjusting to life among the locals, we’ve become acquainted with the neighborhood mom & pop convenience store, marveled at the garbage trucks that play music just like the ice cream trucks in the states do, and have figured out how to work two of our four Japanese air conditioners.

I think the one thing that has us most impressed is the way the hot water heater works. Now in the states you usually don’t think twice about your hot water heater unless it’s on the fritz. In our new home it is always on our minds, and honestly the way it works is not only neat, but really very smart not only for the environment but our pocketbook as well.

So here is the control panel:

Yes you read that right, control panel. Our hot water heater has a control panel…that is all in Japanese, but we have the gist of it figured out. Our hot water heater (here on out it will be referred to as HWH because that is quicker than spelling it out), isn’t electric it runs on kerosene.

You can actually smell it when the HWH is running, assuming you have the laundry room window open (which I often do). To have it running constantly, like what you experience with electrical ones, would be a huge waste of gas. So instead you have to turn it on and off. We only run it when we are showering or if there is something that just needs hot water. We actually think about the kind of water we are using and if we truly need to use it or not.

The other element about it that we really love, aside from being able to cut it off when we don’t need hot water, is the temperature controls. Now, every parent reading this has probably received the little hand-out from their pediatrician about checking the HWH to make sure it is set to a certain temperature to avoid burns on children.

We have all checked water using our elbows, wrist, and other available body parts to ensure that it is just right. We have all heard the yelps of “It’s too HOT! Or It’s too COLD!” after we have done our best to get a temperature that seems comfortable. It is just part of the bath-time headache.

Well…it used to be for us anyways. Now, we can set the control panel to a temperature that suits TBM and not have to worry if the water is going to get too hot or too cold. We just press the buttons on the control panel, move the shower knob towards the red triangle indicating hot water, and wash the kids. They are comfy the whole time, they actually want to linger in the tub and do most of the washing themselves now *since we don’t have to worry about the water eventually going cold*, it’s great!

I honestly don’t know why homes in the states don’t have this feature. It would probably save people tons of money on their bills, just think about how much you could save if your HWH had an off button, and there is the safety factor. No more burns because a little kid got too happy in the tub and turns the hot water knob instead of the cold one. No more wasting time and water trying to get the water just right. I love our HWH control panel. It is a feature that I will do my best to have installed when we purchase a home one day, and it will definitely be in the building plans when we build our own home.

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes


  1. I am assuming you live in a Cho? We have Japanese A/C and Heat units in our house (in housing), one would think they would give you a book in English, or show you how to operate it. Well they didn't.

    We have a list of things we want to take back with us. At the top of our list are toilets...

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