After only 2 years of living here I finally figured out how to use the heater in my apartment 😃
No, I haven't gone cold all that time. I could turn the heater on and off. What I couldn't do is figure out how to set it to turn on in the morning say 30 minutes before I get up since otherwise it's as cold inside my apartment as outside. I could just leave it on all night but I like quiet when I'm sleeping which it is not and I also don't want to annoy the neighbors. So, I turn it off.
The Japanese actually call these things "air conditioners" and they both heat and air condition. Most *modern* aircons have a wireless remote with a digital LCD display and a gazillion settings including the time you want it to turn on. Mine doesn't have the remote or any digital settings. Instead it's got a 2 big sliders, 2 small switches and 2 buttons. One slider is for the temp. If the thing is set to air−condition then the temp is for how cold. If it's set to heater then the temp is for how hot. The hot scale is to the left of the slider, the cold to the right.
The next slider has something to do with time. On the left it has 5 to 12 going up and on the right it has 1 to 6 going down.
The 2 buttons, one is on and off, the other says "timer". Finally the last switch selects between manual fan or automatic fan.
So, do you know what to do to get it to come on in the morning? Being dense I didn't. For some reason seeing the timer slider having numbers from 1 to 12 I assumed it had to do with the time of day. It wasn't until a few days ago based on bringing this up with a friend that I figured out it's exactly what it says, a timer. If the thing is off and you press timer, that slider specifies in how many hours it will come back on. If the thing is on then that slider specifies in how many hours it will come back on.
So now, before I go to bed, I turn it off, set it to 6 hours and then press timer and magically it comes on 6 hours later. Imagine that 😛
This isn't the first time I've been this stupid. I actually had a similar problem the last time I came to Japan 5 years ago. That time it was the opposite. It was June, it was crazy ass hot. 30 seconds and your clothes are wet enough to squeeze liquid out of them.
I had an air conditioner/heater but at the time I didn't know they did both and I could not read the kanji. I pressed the buttons, hot air or room temp air came out. After about 20 minutes I assumed it was only a heater.
For about 3 weeks my routine was get home, take a shower, be as still as possible in my room because it was so hot, even at 1am, that any movement and the sweat would start rolling down my body. Just before bed jump in the shower again, wake up in wet sheets. At the time I just kind of thought, "wow, this is Japan"
I mentioned this to a friend and she told me something like "it's hard to believe you don't have an air conditioner". That got me thinking and so I went back and played with it some more and this time cold air came out. 😃