I'll never forget my first winter in Japan when I heard that some Japanese people sleep under the kotatsu. The kotatsu, as you may know, is a small table with a heating element under it and a quilt that goes over the table (like a long tablecloth) to keep the heat in.

Well, I thought it was a very strange thing to sleep under a table. I hadn't physically been under a table since I was a child. As an adult, I just couldn't see it. Until I realized how cold it gets in this country. Burrow? Heck yeah! Now I'm under the kotatsu table all the time and have relocated here for the entire winter. Send all correspondence to Amy Chavez, Under the Kotasu, Shiraishi Island, Japan. Or perhaps, like Shakespeare lived in Stratford-upon-Avon, my address could be Kotatsu-upon-Amy.

But the kotatsu is, first and foremost, a low table to sit around Japanese-style, on the tatami mat floor. The idea is that your legs and lower body stay toasty warm under the quilt, while your upper body remains frozen. But this should not be too surprising because the Japanese have always shown favoritism to the middle and lower body.