I think I might have alluded to the lack of real temperature control in Japan before, this has been a source of annoyance for me for many months as I hate being cold. Last week was particularly cold so I'm particularly bitter about it.
There is no central heat in most buildings. Our apartment has a heater in the main room, and one in both bedrooms. One of the bedroom heaters is old but is amazing, it actually makes real, honest to goodness heat. Of course it is the super tiny bedroom that is currently used as the "drying room" for laundry, will be our guest room when people visit and eventually will be the baby room. Our bedroom will actually get to non-fridged temperatures if the curtains are closed, the door is closed and the heater is cranked up. The main area of the house (living room, kitchen and dining room), you know, the area where I spend all of my time, does not get all that warm. The heater seems woefully undersized for the space. When home, I spend most of my time under a very warm and snugly blanket from Costco. I wear far more clothing indoors than I would in the states. The hall way and the bathroom are always cold since nothing actually heats that space unless you leave the bedroom heater maxed and the door open all the time and then its just cool, not cold.
Work is the same way. They heat the office area where everyone is working but the hall way, bathrooms, entry and any unused classrooms are colder than the inside of my Japanese refrigerator! One of my co-workers is a Romanian named Ruxy. She always wears about 12 layers of clothing and is always complaining about being cold. One day someone asked her about Romania being cold and her response was "Yes, Romania is cold but it's a civilized country where people have discovered HEATING!" Totally cracked me up. I just don't think that personal comfort is much of a Japanese thing. It's a shame. Its something I value and appreciate.
The one thing that the Japanese do to make this trend of freezing bathrooms somewhat bearable is they love heated toilet seats. That's right, so when you go in to a bathroom that 40'F at least when you sit down the porcelain isn't cold. At first it's a little strange to sit on a warm toilet, expectantly in a public bathroom. It makes you feel like not enough time has passed between you and the previous occupant for the seat to cool down... but once you get used to it, its rather pleasant and certainly better than the alternative. Our apartment has a heated seat and we use it. It is the one thing that has made my shrinking bladder bearable in our icy bathroom.
I miss central heating. I probably miss it more because when ever I go anyplace I'm out in the cold air, on a bike or walking. I miss coming in from the outside and feeling that contrast of inside being toasty when it's cold out side instead of it just being just slightly less cold inside. Hopefully spring will come soon! Until then, I'll stay under my blanket and my toilet seat shall remain heated.