Many sites that talk about how to “beat the heat” in Japan give advice such as, “Go swimming!” “Go to the mountains!” “Eat shaved ice!” Well, those are all great things to do to beat the heat, but they just aren’t feasible as consistent tactics that can be applied to everyday life. Here is a list of the things I have learned about surviving through the heat in Japan, especially after having lived 10 years in a house with no air conditioning. (It also had no direct sunlight, which is why it was possible to survive with no air conditioning!) All of these are things I only began doing consistently sometime between five to eight years ago.
Everyday Tips for Surviving the Brutal Heat in Japan: A guide for expats and visitors, with a view to the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics
A bit of background to start: The typical American way of thinking in the summer is that the less your body is covered, the cooler you will be. Many, many Americans, especially women, walk around in tank tops and short shorts, and without a hat.
In reality, though, the opposite is true. If this seems incredulous, I challenge you to try it. Having your skin exposed to the sun drains a lot of energy out of you (especially for fairer-skinned people). Keeping the sun off of you as much as possible actually keeps you cooler than the “less covering” system. Especially when the intensity of the sun’s rays seems to be getting stronger and stronger as the years go by.
I remember when I visited Turkey as a university student. I was SO hot that I was at my wit’s end, and the Japanese woman I was with said sometimes covering your head helps. She had a hat; of course I didn’t. However, on that trip, I always had a large piece of fabric (fashion scarf) wrapped around my waist in case we suddenly decided to visit any mosques, so I put the scarf on my head.
Oh, my goodness! What a difference that made. I have built on that experience as I live here in Japan. Which leads me to my first three points: 続きを読む