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2006.02.23

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Kat & Satoshi

great post! I gotta go and get me one!

suzy

what a cool post! i have been unaware of haramaki til now... where do you buy them? could be a good solution to the dreaded mid-riff gap.

Amy

Most people keep theirs well hidden! You can find them in the lingerie department of most department stores. Not in the cute frilly lacy section, but off to the side, near the stockings and bike shorts.
But I'm not sure if they'll be easy to find this time of year.

Also, Nissen (catalogue/online only) has a few sets of 4. Cute fleece:
http://www.nissen.co.jp/src/direct_sho/index_s.jsp?head=%2Fhead&main=%2Fc_item%2F2005fal%2Fsho_item%2F0568%2F0568_05902
And with a Snoopy print: http://www.nissen.co.jp/src/direct_sho/index_s.jsp?head=%2Fhead&main=%2Fc_item%2F2005fal%2Fsho_item%2F0568%2F0568_23201

I really like Nissen, by the way. They are cheap, have a good return policy, carry shoes big enough for my feet and the clothes (if I choose carefully) usually fit.

David

Awesome post! I had never heard of a haramaki until a few weeks ago, and up until now I thought they were exclusively for women. My girlfriend introduced me to them. She wears one all the time, I mean all the time (plus the heat is jacked up and a warm duvet), but they are not available in Canadian department stores. Even my hair stylist who has lived here for a long time says she can't find any. I always thought Hara was a family name in Japanese and its the one I use around my Japanese friends, its good to know they're calling me Tummy-san! The science makes perfect sense, and since I get cold easily, maybe I'll start to wear one when I find them. I'll check out that website later.

You've metioned that there is a problem with heating in Japanese homes. There are other bloggers who have expressed the same, but my girlfriend insists (in the case of another blogger) that it is simply because he lives in a cheap flat. I tend to side with you on this, a home must have a heating system. Even in Mexico, I was thrown for a loop when I learned that homes are built without heaters. It's good to have one, just in case but because of this, I'm afraid to visit Japan in the fall and winter now. Are the temps in Tokyo really as low as they are in Vancouver? Right now, we are having a nasty cold snap, but its nothing like an Ottawa winter.

TM

That is the most beautiful haramaki I have ever seen!! Did you make it? I've only wore something like that when I was pregant, as everyone told me I should, so I thought it was to support the baby and/or my back. I didn't realize it was for warmth and that non-pregnant people also wear them, lol! Thanks for teaching me something new, and something new to shop for!! :D

TM

Forgot to add that I keep reading it as "harumaki"--eggroll/springroll, and come to think of it, it is quite apt, lol! ;)

Stasia

I have a friend whose acupuncturist gave her similar advice - keep the middle/organs warm, because that is where one's "chi" resides, and you'll have more energy and be warmer in your extremeties. My friend told me about this, and I decided to try it, and I've been much warmer during the last two cold Wisconsin, USA, winters because of it. Though, we don't have tummy-warmers here, and I just use long underwear. :-) Maybe I should sew a fleece one!

carlyn

Amy;
Thanks for the info on haramaki. Now I understand why my mother always sent "tee shirts' to me all year round . She always insisted I wear them to "stay well". Thanks ....

Amy

David,
Perhaps your girlfriend remembers her home country with a bit of a rosy tint? I know I do sometimes. Because either your girlfriend was incredibly wealthy, lived in Hokkaido (where houses tend to be heated better) or is simply not remembering how damn cold homes are here.
I've visited plenty of homes and lived in 6 different apartments, and I've NEVER encountered a dwelling that was properly heated. The main room is usually kept warm during the day, but that's it. Leave the room and it's freezing; likewise after a night without heat waking up to a cold house is the norm. Would heated toilets, hot carpets and kotatsu be necessary in a warm house?

I think her "cheap flat" comment refers to the difference between "apaato", which are smaller wooden structures, and "manshon" which are larger and more solidly built. Manshons are more expensive and their thicker walls mean they stay warmer than apaato. But my new place is a manshon and let me tell you, it does get cold.

I think Vancouver winters are slightly colder than Tokyo winers, but I could be misremembering. Still, I think your girlfriend should appreciate the properly heated homes of Canada!

TM,
I did not make this haramaki! I don't remember where I bought it- probably the lingerie section of a lower-end department store like Seiyu. I do think the thing you wore during pregnancy was for support rather than for warmth, but as far I as I know women will start wearing a regular haramaki well before they need support, simply to keep the baby warm.

Stasia,
The chi thing is the traditional explanation, and the Japanese place a lot of importance on the stomach. I'm a bit skeptical of a lot of eastern medicine, but it's nice to see that it sometimes makes sense.

Carlyn,
Those long snug t-shirts are a popular alternative to the haramaki. I used to use them but they were never long enough for my big frame. Glad I discovered tummy warmers.

Jamie

In spite of having lived in Japan for 10 years or so, I never knew anything about haramaki until a couple of years ago when my sister-in-law solemnly informed me that she always wears one, pregnant or not. The garment she flashed at the onsen was not anywhere near as cute as the one you have pictured. So I said something like "good for you!" and thought, "I'll never wear one of those!". Except now, you're solving the mystery of why my husband's pajama waist is solidly around his chest, not to mention the question of why my feet are always cold. Now that I'm pregnant in Chicago in early March (which means winter for two more months unless this year is miraculous) I NEED haramaki! Even if I have to make it myself...?! I would ask my sister-in-law to send me one or two, but I'm afraid the Japanese pregnant belly is never as magnificent as what I've got!

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