Summer is oft cited as the best time of year for many, but does this remain true for expats in Japan? The season over here is certainly not without its challenges. Over the course of July we posed some of the hard questions to the City-Cost community to find out what you/they thought about summer in Japan.
1) Complete this sentence with a word or a phrase; 'Summer in Japan is ... '
Quite understandably, many people completed this sentence with words to the effect that summer in Japan is hot and humid. In the table below, we've picked up some of the answers that offered something a little different.
|full of opportunity||gross|
|can catch the sight of people wearing yukata||the season of hanabi|
|enjoying the sound of semi (cicadas)||traveling to remote areas on a budget and seeing the things that are not the recommended tourist spots|
|school break||when people are having longest vacation a year and spend money for travel|
|fun in a youthful way nostalgic of beloved scenes in anime involving high-school students playing with fireworks by the river||too hot yet yet enkais (parties) galore so I'm still happy|
|ordinary||a fun time to soak up some sun and take a dip in the beach|
|old fashioned||a new adventure|
|disgusting||fun, exciting and there's a lot of new things to explore|
2) What, for you, are the best things about summer in Japan? Rank the following (1 = high / 10 = low). Here are the results ..
|1||Walking into a building with air conditioning|
|3||Going to the beach|
|5||Trips to the mountains|
|6||Eating kakigori (shaved ice)|
|7||'Cool Biz' (wearing more casual clothes to work)|
|8||Going to outdoor swimming pools|
|9||Rooftop beer gardens|
|10||Summer music festivals (Fuji Rock, Summer Sonic e.t.c)|
3) What, for you, are the frustrating/hard aspects of life in Japan during the summer? Rank the following (1= most frustrating/hardest)
|1||Coming out of an air-conditioned building|
|2||Not very cool air conditioner settings at work|
|3||Cicadas (in Japan, 'semi'), mosquitoes, cockroaches, and other bugs|
|4||Smelly/sweaty passengers on trains|
|5||Getting to sleep|
|6||That Japanese society doesn't seem to slow down for summer|
|7||Having to work|
|8||People who hold umbrellas to protect against the sun (particularly in crowded areas)|
|9||Lack of appetite|
|10||Japan's lack of choice when it comes to sun cream/sun block|
4) What kind of advice would you give to others as to how best to deal with the heat and humidity of the Japanese summer?
Plenty of sound advise was given here. Common amongst the comments was the importance of staying hydrated. In regards to this, we don't know about you guys, but we often hear conflicting reports about how to do this; Just water is no good, you need to take in sports drinks, too. Stay away from sports drinks and stick to water.
A lot of people, it seems, are big believers in carry around towels and face wipes. Some people are wrapping their towels around ice packs, and even soaking them in water and putting them in the freezer for later use. One person also pointed out that you can get special pads to put under your armpits to prevent sweat in, err, that zone.
Loose clothing came up a few times, as did those high-tech 'non sweat' t-shirts and under shirts that you can find in plenty of stores in Japan. There was a comment from someone who lamented the large abandonment of traditional clothing during this time, and gave the suggestion that it would be good to wear yukata or jinbei regardless if there's a festival on or not.
Of course, there were plenty of suggestions to stay in an air-con zone, and also to get up earlier than usual and get things done/get to work before the day really heats up.
In the home, we were also reminded of the importance of taking out the trash to reduce the risk of maggots and flies.
Ultimately though, it seems impossible to avoid the heat and humidity of a Japanese summer altogether. As one person succinctly said, Get used to it!
(Of the respondents: 66% female, 34% male)