Jul 24, 2018
Japanese culture offers a wide variety of interesting ways to try and keep cool during the warmer months. From eating unagi to give you the stamina to get through those dog days of summer, to hanging up windchimes to help you think yourself cool, there are certainly some ingenious approaches to beating the heat here.
We popped out for lunch at our local family restaurant today, and when we arrived the parking lot was completely soaked with water. My first thought was "what happened?!" but my husband said that watering concrete areas down is a common practice particularly in summer, and is another way to try and keep areas cool.
This to me was pretty hard to believe - especially having come from a country like Australia which is no stranger to water restrictions, particularly during the summer months. We had periods of drought that were so bad when I was growing up that you weren't even allowed to water the plants in your garden, let alone hose down the concrete to try and keep things cooler!
Upon doing more research though, I found out that it's definitely a thing here - and it even has its own name, uchimizu. The practice is steeped in tradition, and as well as being a method of cooling down an area in the summer months, it also helps to settle any dust hanging around.
How effective is it? Well, the parking lot at the restaurant did feel substantially cooler when we entered - so maybe there is some truth behind the practice. However, by the time we headed out again after our lunch, the lot was back to being almost 100% dry again! I guess it's the thought that counts, right?
The soaking wet lot was basically bone dry again within half an hour!
Wondering about the practice behind uchimizu? This link explains the process in English!
Have you seen people doing this in an effort to cool areas down in your neighborhood? Are you a personal advocate of uchimizu and already do this yourself?
After spending the last several years in the beating heart of Tokyo, I will be spending the next three in the countryside of Japan. I adore this country and all it has to offer - and I'm always learning more and more about life here as I go along!
Ok! Surprisingly though this is not such a strange practice. Back home in Jamaica whenever it gets very dry and dusty ( especially around the home) my parents would fill containers with water and use their hand as a ladle to ‘sprinkle’ the area to both cool it down and settle the dust. It however does not have any official fancy name such as is here. :)