Jul 14, 2017
We moved to Japan four years ago in June - so I arrived here right in time to experience the joys of a Japanese summer. I use the word "joys" with a degree of sarcasm, since I had never experienced humidity before. I remember Googling average year round temperatures for Tokyo before the big move, and thinking to myself "oh, that's totally manageable!"...but I was used to summers that consisted of dry heat. The humidity brings a whole new level of challenge to the ball game. A level of challenge that I don't love - but one that I've learned to deal with.
So, in saying that - how do you DEAL with the summers here in Japan when you're faced with feeling like you need another shower 5 minutes after leaving your house for the day?
Thankfully there are ways and means...
I do think that Japan is pretty clever when it comes to ways of beating the heat - things that have been around for such a long time, that clearly work. Beautiful folding fans, and intricately patterned light yukata? I love this side of summer, and think that yukata are genius...you look all put together, and don't feel like you're sweating up a storm.
If you're seeking a more modern route to deal with the depths of summer - try checking out the 100 yen stores or your local drug store. I've seen these cooling body sheets that apparently use menthol to give you that all over cool feeling. I haven't tried them personally, but I figure no harm in giving them a whirl if the heat is really getting to you!
Now, I don't know if this is one of those 'old wives tales', but a lot of my Japanese friends swear by furin, or windchimes that are designed to give out soothing sounds to help you think yourself cool. I haven't yet gone down the route of buying windchimes to keep myself from feeling the full effect of the summer heat - but I do think they are beautiful! And hey - even if it's a total placebo, whatever works, right?!
My husband was the one who told me about this. He's a huge unagi fan, and told me that it's quite commonly eaten here in summer as it's seen as a food that gives you stamina and energy to get through those long humid days. His favorite quick and easy unagi fix these days comes from good old Sukiya - they have their "unagyu" option in the summertime, which is basically your standard gyudon bowl served with some unagi on top. I'm not a fan of unagi, so I try and stick to my delicious summer fruits to keep me cool (and not hating on summer so much). Give me a delicious, fresh and juicy Japanese peach, and I'll totally forget that I'm sweltering...even if it's only momentary.
I figure that when all else fails - you can always visit a beer garden, and try and forget the heat...right? Maybe?
It's worth a shot!
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!
A friend that I went to a BBQ with recently brought along one of those cooling sprays that you can get. I gave it a blast on my neck and down the t-shirt - works pretty well I though even if initially it feels a bit like a burning sensation! The wipes are really good, too but I feel like if I started using them I'd never stop and end up spending a whole load of cash (that I don't have) on the things.