May 22, 2019
Temperatures are getting warmer and we can sense that summer is coming. As Japanese summers tend to be extremely hot and humid going to work every day in summer can be quite exhausting and too much exposure to air-conditioning can have negative health effects.
Clothing rules for office workers have become looser in recent years in Japan and the "Cool Biz" movement has made short sleeves and salarymen without neckties acceptable in the office. The "Cool Biz" movement first popped up after the 3/11 earthquake as a measure to save power because of shortages. Offices were advised to lower the air-conditioning setting and allow workers to wear less formal clothing. In a lot of places it stuck and is still practiced today.
Nevertheless, the air-conditioning in Japan's trains has not yet accepted the "Cool Biz" movement and air-conditioning in trains in summer is usually set at a quite low temperature. So, I would recommend bringing a light jacket that you can slip on if you feel cold on the train. Also, you should make sure to drink enough. Personally, I sometimes experience dizziness on crowded trains but usually get better once I can sit down and drink some water. As, usually, all the seats are taken in most cases that means having to get off the train which results in me being late to work.
In general, the difference between the air-conditioning temperature and the outside temperate should not exceed 5 degrees as a higher temperature difference can have a negative impact on our health. If you work in a cool-biz office that should not be an issue. However, there are still some offices in Japan that set their air-conditioning to “way too cold”. Most of the time a single office worker has not much say in the office temperature so are limited to bringing additional clothes or blankets that they can use to keep warm. Also, drinking hot beverages is a nice way to stay warm.
During Japanese summer air-conditioners are running without breaks
Another issue with air-conditioning is the cold wind. Usually, there are some seats in the office where the wind is directly blowing towards your head. For some people, this can result in headaches and not feeling well overall. In that case, you should ask your superior whether it would be possible to change seats or to install an additional part to the air-conditioner that will direct the wind in a different direction. These are usually not that expensive.
How do you deal with the summer heat and air-conditioning in Japan?
Hi, I’m Eli. I’m from Germany and moved to Japan a few years ago. I am a typical nerd and like collecting Pokémon merchandise.Follow me on twitter (@hannari_eri) for the latest nerd News from Tokyo. I also write a blog in German over here. https://lifeinjapanisstrange.wordpress.com/