Feb 19, 2019
I've been using the stove-top in my apartment to prepare almost every hot meal my family has eaten in the last eight years, which is why I was shocked and horrified to find it non-functional upon our return to Japan after our US trip this summer.
I clicked the button for the left burner and heard only the beeping that usually signaled the safety shut off which usually only occurred when something had been left on top of the burner for too long. I tried the right burner but got the exact same reaction. These were my main heating sources and I was very upset to have them suddenly stop working. I couldn't figure out what had happened but made the assumption that I had somehow ruined them by leaving pots and pans on them overnight to soak and wait for me to do the dishes and clear the sink. The prolonged exposure to weight must have thrown off their safety shut-off sensitivity and that was why they weren't working. shamed of having broken something I could not afford to replace, I trudged onward silently, never mentioning any of this to my husband. Instead, I tried the slower, smaller burner in the back and found it ready to work, so with that I cooked every mean since August.
The other day, even my little burner was going on the brink and spazzed out just as my husband got home from work. He came into the kitchen and asked what was wrong. I swallowed my shame and showed him.
"The battery is dead." he said.
"The battery?" I asked. Surely a stove-top burner system that is set into the counter doesn't take batteries. In my home country, all this would be electric, even if the heating was done by gas.
"Yeah, the battery," he said, pointing at the little compartment that had a little red light on next to it. "You can tell the battery is out when the light is on."
I raced off to 7-11 to grab some more D sized batteries, replaced the dead ones and viola! Fire! Again!!!
Welcome back, Left Burner. I look forward to working with you again.
So when your pilot lights go out, check for a battery compartment. It may well be there, ready to help. Also, use your Japanese resources.
You may ask yourself, as I did, why on earth a proper stove top would come with battery-powered ignition rather than plugging into the wall. Surprisingly, I already knew this answer. It's earthquakes. After a major quake, power may be out for a week or longer, but the gas is usually on within a couple of days at the latest and never even shut off at my in-laws house after the Magnitude 9 back in 2011. If your stove top has gas and battery power, you can cook even if the lights are off, providing someone is willing to hold a flashlight for you.
A working mom/writer/teacher, Jessica explores her surroundings in Miyagi-ken and Tohoku, enjoying the fun, quirky, and family friendly options the area has to offer.