(PICTURE: The kotatsu at Masumi's parents' house.)
I had heard from a few people that I had to experience a kotatsu table before I left Japan. A kotatsu table is basically a low table that has blankets that hang down over the sides. The table is then heated underneath by a device which makes the warmest and coziest table you can imagine.
As soon as we entered Masumi's parent's house I saw their kotatsu and couldn't hide my excitement. As I ate and drank, I kept thinking how 40% of my relatives (especially on the Zucker side) would fall asleep in roughly 4 minutes and 12 seconds if they were given delicious food, a warm cozy table and pillows to sit on. Then after about an hour of sitting at the table with no back rest, I began to think how 99% of my relatives (including me) would have back pain before dessert.