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Spreading kotatsu culture to North America one table at a time! A kotatsu is the soul of the Japanese home.

http://ibuildkotatsu.wordpress.com/about/

Kotatsu: Hon nippon no mono!

A kotatsu table is a staple of both modern and ancient Japan.  Its presence in Japanese culture remains as prominent as a fireplace is in the West, this highly revered table (a center piece of furniture) often remains the social hub for the entire home, as well as functioning as a utilitarian object to keep warm in the winter; it is fair to say that great significance is imparted to it in daily Japanese lifestyle. Guests are often escorted into the chanoma (茶の間; Japanese living-tea room) upon entering a home in which they share laughs and the hospitable warmth that is best suited around good company and a cup of tea.

 (Image of Japanese portrait depicting the common presence of a kotatsu)

A chanomibanashi (茶飲み話; a chat over tea) has been hosted in everything from ancient opulent tea houses holding ritual ceremonies—some as long as 3 hours!—to the most modest of homes for centuries in Japan. It is my personal aim to be able to offer those outside of Japan the opportunity to continue and carry on this tradition so that they, too, may enjoy the simple pleasures of conversing with one’s guests in a hospitable and comfortable environment enhanced by this table.

However, while tea is a fundamental tenet of Japanese culture it must be noted that a kotatsu table is not solely limited to this application; it also functions as a place in which to host one’s dinner parties. Below is a perfect example of the typical use of a kotatsu in any home.

        (Nabemono meal being hosted around a kotatsu; Nadame Cantabile)

Kotatsu tables also offer a comfortable and often safer work places, if working with fragile materials, then tall leveled desks. In addition to the warm work-space the short height of a kotatsu doesn’t impact ones posture and is significantly less straining than that of the hunched-over position one is often forced into for hours at a time in a traditional Western desk. It is not uncommon to see someone spend their entire day in winter under one; the warmth gently invites one to nap under it with its unique charm. I can tell you from personal experience that it is amusingly addicting!

(Craftsmen often find the low-slung design ideal for practical visual levels and coordination flow)

Mechanics:

(Visual representation of a typical kotatsu and table interior and removable table top)

A kotatsu is comprised of rather simple elements: an often square table consisting of a skeleton-like structure that safely houses and aligns the kotatsu (heater) within, while also stabilizing the rigidness of the table itself. This allows for the top structure of the table to be removed.

             (An upright Kotatsu without a futon and the heating unit on)

The heater fins are directed downward, when the table is properly upright, to allow the heat to distribute within the table itself, and the heat is retained inside and insulated by the futon (duvet). The top portion the table is then placed over the futon to create a stable and even plane on which to serve, or host upon.

About you:

Individuals who wish to contribute to this project will be eligible for the listed rewards for their respective level of contribution. I have given this a great deal of thought and effort and I wish to impart to all contributors an incentive that not only gives you the satisfaction of having a significant role in my ambition to cater to this Market, but also one in which you can possess a tasteful memento as well as a token of my sincere gratitude. 

Thank you for taking the time read my proposal and let us together make a chanomibanashi as ubiquitous in the West as it is in Japan with this project! I look forward to hearing your insight and comments regarding Mark I’s design in the donators comment section and blog.

  (Image of Japanese portrait depicting the common presence of a kotatsu)

Genki-Kun buys kotatsu (Note: Play in full screen, right click video and un-click loop,): http://megaswf.com/serve/2002738

Additional notes:

My project consists of creating a hand-made kotatsu table; a kotatsu table is a Japanese low height table that possesses an inverted heater at the base of the table with a removable table top. My aim is to raise the sufficient funds to first complete a revised version of my design (which is currently 50% built) then to eventually be able to efficiently produce these tables in sufficient quantities that will enable me to market these to individuals in North America. At present those whom desire these tables are left to construct their own, or subsequently pay large sums of money to have them shipped from abroad. I intend to capitalize on this demand in the Market by offering a well crafted product of my own design. I sincerely believe Kickstarter may assist me in doing so—as well as gauge potential demand.

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    (Arigatou): My sincere gratitude expressed in an email with a seasonal themed e-card for making a contribution, name listed as sponsor on website and product pamphlet.

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    (Arigatou Plus): Hand written letter of appreciation, name listed as sponsor on website and product pamphlet.

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    (Arigatou gozaimashita): Hand written letter of appreciation, assortment of Japanese snacks*, name listed as sponsor on website and product pamphlet.

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    (Doumo arigatou gozaimashita): Wabi Sabi ocha cup (Made In Japan), Japanese snacks, hand written letter of appreciation, name listed as sponsor on website & product pamphlet.

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    (Honto ni arigatou gozaimashita): Cast Iron tea pot trivet (Made in Japan) and Japanese snacks (pocky/kit-kat etc…), name listed as sponsor on website & product pamphlet.

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    $125-250 (Honto ni arigatou gozaimashita deluxe!): Hand-crafted wooden sign (Made in USA) with your desired inscription or 6” scale kotatsu, Japanese snacks (pocky/kit-kat etc…), hand written letter of appreciation, name listed as sponsor on website & product pamphlet

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    $300-350 (Kampai!): Hand-crafted wooden sign (Made in USA) with your desired inscription or 6” kotatsu, Wabi Sabi ocha cup x 2, Wabi Sabi sake cup x 2, Japanese snacks (tailored to your tastes), hand written letter of appreciation, name listed as sponsor on website & product pamphlet!

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    $450+ (Yatta!): Your own Mark I Kotatsu (+S/H), Wabi Sabi ocha cup x 2, pack of Japanese snacks (tailored to your tastes), hand written letter of appreciation, name listed as sponsor on website & product pamphlet!

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    (Yatta deluxe!): All of the above + tour and demonstration of operation grounds + sponsors Luncheon and an exclusive Wine Cruise in Dana Point, CA!

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Funding period

- (35 days)