It all started in late October - I remember it as if it were yesterday. Honestly, our relationship was a thing of beauty in the beginning. Fuyu finally came blowing through our small little island village; a deliverance from the oppressive sub-tropical heat and humidity. Like a brash teenager, I fell in love at first site. The first weeks together were great, filled with laughter and happiness. It wasn't long, however, before Fuyu's temperament began to change. Fuyu started acting differently. At first I brushed her behaviour aside. Fuyu will be Fuyu after all, I figured. But these small mood swings became more and more pronounced. My co-workers all told me to not be so harsh on Fuyu, that this was a special year for Fuyu, and that normally Fuyu wasn't this bad, but they were uttering only empty words. By the end of November, our relationship was over, and by mid-December, alas, war had been declared.
|A look of dismay from Michelle after realizing our olive oil had frozen solid overnight, the work of Fuyu|
Our apartment is an engineering marvel. When Fuyu was raging, the apartment found a way to be colder inside than it actually was outside. By mid-December, things were dire. The temperature was regularly below freezing, and the apartment was like a damp cave. We adapted as best as we could. Heat-tech thermal underwear, ten minute scalding hot showers, electric heaters, three layers of jackets, eight layers of blankets on the bed - all helpful but not enough. We had no answer for Fuyu and the cold was becoming unbearable. As we were poised on the precipice of succumbing to Fuyu's onslaught, we were introduced to Sekiyu Hi-Ta-. I am here, writing this today, because of what Sekiyu Hi-Ta- did for us. During the darkest days, the bone chilling nights in January, when it looked like Michelle and I were smoking in our bedroom because our breath was evaporating in the frigid 25 degree apartment air, Sekiyu Hi-Ta- stepped in. Even though Sekiyu Hi-Ta- extracted a high price, over 100 liters of kerosene and the constant threat of either blowing the apartment up or poisoning the air, it was unquestionably worth it. Thank you, Sekiyu Hi-Ta, for your wholesome warmness.
|Meeting Sekiyu Hi-Ta- for the first time|
|Sekiyu Hi-Ta became a part of the family quickly|
In mid-March, Fuyu's will to fight started to wane. She had finally had enough. As Fuyu finishes her slow retreat from our island, I stand here beat down, tattered and emotionally scared - but intact and without jacket. Even though it didn't work out with Fuyu and I, I will always remember back to our relationship, one that started so promising but ended in heartache... For all the bad, I will try to focus on the positive, like the amazing view of the mountains from our apartment after a fresh snow. Farewell, Fuyu.
*In case you didn't pick up on it, Fuyu (冬) is the Japanese word for "winter".
Sekiyu Hi-Ta- (石油ヒーター) is Japanese for "kerosene heater".