Jul 18, 2017

100 Yen Heat Hack: The Frozen Towel

       When humidity so intense that your clothes are drenched in sweat before you walk for more than ten minutes combines with record high temperatures to create a truly uncomfortable summer experience, you know it's summer time Japan. There are a number of ways to deal with this problem, including hiding in the air conditioning or under parasols whenever possible and wiping down your brow with the wash-cloth sized towels everyone seems to carry. These are great answers, but my solution is a bit different.

    My solution may appear strange to some and probably won't be the favorite of any fashionistas, but it works well enough for me. If you have a day planned in which you do not need to wear professional business attire and plan to be out in the sun for a few hours or more, this may help in keeping you cool.

100 Yen Heat Hack: The Frozen Towel photo

    First, buy a towel.

    Douglas Adams's adage regarding towels hold true. You should always know where your towel is. Towels are really terribly useful things. First, let's go towel shopping. Your towel needn't be fancy, but should be long, like a face towel. Your towel should be long enough to drape over the back of your neck as that is exactly what it is meant to do.

  100 Yen Heat Hack: The Frozen Towel photo   100 Yen Heat Hack: The Frozen Towel photo

    Material is important as well. We need the towel to be absorbent, so materials like cotton are the best bet. The fluffy micro-fleece varieties work well enough for most home uses, but will not be helpful to us in this venture. If you're not sure the material, check the back label. You can see here that the pink towel is 100% cotton-- perfect for our purposes. The blue micro-fleece towel is not going to soak up what we need it to. 

100 Yen Heat Hack: The Frozen Towel photo
Wet, folded incorrectly.
    Take your towel home. Remove the packaging and throw it in the wash if you like. Then, when it

 is clean and dry, fold the towel into a smaller form, keeping it as long as possible and dampen it in clean water. The towel should be thoroughly wet, but not dripping. Wring it out if necessary. Now put the towel in your freezer and leave it for a few hours, preferably overnight. 
100 Yen Heat Hack: The Frozen Towel photo

    As you can see, I folded it wrong and left it too wet. 

    Just before you leave, take the towel out and unfold it. It might be a bit stiffened from the freezer, but should become more manageable as it warms up. Once you can, lay it across the back of your neck and enjoy! The ice cold should keep your blood temperature chilled for a bit and once the towel dries in the heat, it will be helpful in wiping away sweat as well.

100 Yen Heat Hack: The Frozen Towel photo
This is the shape you want. If you made the same mistake I did, you might have to pull it in a few directions to get it to do this, but once you do, you can drape it easily across your neck for a rush of cool comfort, or loop it over like a scarf of frozen delight.
   100 Yen Heat Hack: The Frozen Towel photo       

    Caution: it will leave your clothes moistened! This will also dry in the sun, but if a wet spot on your chest or neckline would be more terrible than extreme heat, perhaps you are better off with a parasol. 



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.


  • Tomuu

    on Jul 18

    Oooh, I've used this one. Definitely a good'un!

  • edthethe

    on Jul 19

    love this so much!! and because towels dont take up much space we can have one for everyone

  • JTsuzuki

    on Jul 20

    @Tomuu I think so too!

  • JTsuzuki

    on Jul 20

    @edthethe True! Useful, practical, and easy to store. Just remember to being a plastic bag for the wet towels if necessary.