Jul 20, 2017
My summer tips
Summer is hot. Yeah i know that sounds like an obvious statement. Something people don’t really have to point out, but it is something many people who come to Japan will and do point out. I don't think its because Japan is any warmer in summer than many other places. The difference is that most people are coming from developed countries to a supposedly technologically advanced society only to be confronted with no insulation and wall units in most houses. Stores that leave their doors and windows open for the “breeze” (there isn’t one in high humidity) and the only place to get some relief seems to be on the trains where the air blasts so high you almost need a jacket if you stay on for too long. But after living here for a few years without central cooling and now living on a low budget, there are a few things that I do in summer to beat the heat.
First and foremost I have stopped worrying about being sweaty. If you can get comfortable with that, you can be comfortable in Japan. It’s taken me several years to reverse the cultural stigma of ‘a lady does not sweat, she glistens’ I do not glisten. I drip. I melt. I don’t care. That being said, when I do only just ‘glisten’, I feel so super sticky I could probably climb up a wall like spiderman. Touching anything irritates my skin and being naked would be worse, but I always wear loose clothing that doesn’t cling, shower often and have invested in the ‘サラサラsarasara’ (smooth) wipes you can find almost anywhere.
I recently came across a UV cutting spray that is fantastic. I am not sure about its UV blocking abilities, but it is a godsend as an anti ‘ベタベタ’, betabeta spray. ’(sticky) The can is ginormous so I’m not concerned about it running out after the first use. That happened to me with another spray i had tried from a different brand. Set me back a whole 1300 yen and couldn't even cover my whole body. This one held up to multiple uses on myself and my son while out and about and it only costs about 800yen. I also didn’t burn, so it must help with UV protection, however i wasn’t chancing it and had other sunscreen on as well.
Now my son doesn’t seem to mind the heat but boy do I worry about him in it. His face lights up like a stop light after only five minutes outside. In order to protect him from heat stroke while we bike around town, I have been using a frozen ice pack pillow purchased from daiso for 200 yen. It doesn’t get hard when frozen so I can comfortably shove it behind his back and strap him in his seat.
On outings when I end up staying out longer than the pillow can stay cool, I stop at a convenience store and purchase frozen bottles of water and tea. By the time we get to our destination, the frozen drink is a lovely slushie consistency and my two year old is guaranteed not to get over heated. Doesn't he look content in the 37 degree weather?
The last thing that I do to ward of heat and not kill my electricity bill is go to places with air conditioning on full blast instead of staying home and blasting my own. Malls, restaurants with drink bars, or cafes that don’t mind if you stick around for hours. Joyfull, Gusto, Flying Garden are just a few of the ‘family restaurants’ that have an all you can drink service. They are also child friendly. One small fee and you can sit and enjoy coffee tea, soda, whatever your heart desires while totally mooching off the cooled restaurant's air conditioning. I’m partial to Flying Garden because they have an awesome selection of loose leaf teas but Joyfull is certainly the cheapest.
This isn’t a total list of everything you can do in summer here, but just a few things that I do.
American step mom with beautiful Brazilian babies. Raising them in Japan. I'm a crafter too