Saturday, 18 October 2014


The cramped inconvenience of my kitchen space reached a sort of natural zenith today when it led more-or-less directly to disabling my hob and rendering me unable to cook or make hot drinks.

I wanted a nice suppertime herbal tea, so I picked my kettle from the floor of the genkan (porch) where it had been sat, there being nowhere else in the building where I could put it down, and filled it up. Placing it on the hob and switching on the gas, I was briefly startled by a smell, but since this regularly happens due to the combination of stray hair (I shed a lot) and fire, I paid no heed for a few seconds. By that time, something odd was clearly happening and I turned it off to discover some waxy substance running over the hob.

As far as I can reconstruct events, my best guess is that at some point in the kettle-arranging process it touched a plastic lid left on the tiny, crowded sinkside, and this somehow stuck to the base of the kettle where I didn't see it. Certainly, it wasn't on the hob to begin with. This then must have melted horribly all over the place. Having no better ideas and being averse to toxic fumes in a small, ill-ventilated room, I immediately turned off the flame and tipped water over it. Once all was over I pried off the plastic as best I could.

Despite my efforts, the hob now refuses to ignite, and I'm strangely reluctant to tinker with unfamiliar appliances that use poisonous gas and electricity to produce fire, in the room where I sleep, last thing at night when I have basically zero idea what I'm doing. It seems safe enough; the gas turns off alright, it just won't light. I have a gas alarm and the vent fans on, so it should be fine.

Technically this isn't the room's fault, just a weird and unfortunate accident caused by bad luck and clutter. Trouble is, the room doesn't offer any alternative to clutter, bar adopting the hermit life and owning nothing. There's just not enough places to put things down, and a lot of things are hot, dirty or wet and need to go somewhere 'safe' - which means the sinkside.

Tomorrow being a Sunday, I can't do much. I imagine utilities and landlords alike are not available, and in any case I don't think my Japanese will stretch to explaining this, so I'll need to rope in the school. Oh joy.

This all seems like great fun and I am thoroughly looking forward to paying for a new hob to be installed in this wretched hole of a kitchen.

1 comment:

  1. Wary investigation this morning suggests that the hob has recovered from its little tantrum and is now lighting effortlessly. In fact, more reliably than before. Peculiar, but I'll take it, keeping a weather eye on things.