Recently my wife got a humidifier (a “kashitsuki”) for the apartment. That’s a really difficult word. I’ve been trying to remember it but it’s hard because it’s not an everyday word. At most it’s a word I would only have to use occasionally and during the winter. I’ve asked about the opposite of a humidifier, a dehumidifier, and she told me (“joshitsuki”) but it just went in one ear and out the other. It’s equally difficult. (Last year my son taught me the word for a dish washing machine - “shokusenki” - and it took me many months to remember it. I remember it now, though, because it’s a word I can use regularly. And I do.) Notice that both these words end with the letters “k-i”. A “machine,” a generic machine is a “kikai,” so many machines have the suffix“ki” to indicate they are machines. The prefix indicates exactly what kind of machines they are. A vending machine is a “jidohanbaiki,”a laundry machine is a “sentakuki,”and a rice cooker is a “suihanki.” So you see how the suffix “ki” is being used. There are many exceptions. For example, a kitchen kettle is a “yakan.” A refrigerator is a “rezoko.” They don’t have the “ki” suffix.
My wife recently attended a New Year’s party with former colleagues from the Home Care company she used to work for. At the party she won this small dehumidifier in a contest game. Lucky! It’s very small and sits on the table top. We can control the rate of condensation. With the turn of a knob the thing can either blast vapor into the room in a cloudy stream, or just trickle out in weak wisps. At maximum power the reservoir drains in just a couple of hours. But I like it. I like the noticeable effect it’s having on the skin of my hands. I enjoy turning it on and off and refilling the reservoir because it makes me feel like I am accomplishing something.