Everyday Tips for Surviving the Brutal Heat in Japan

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.


In Ephesus, Turkey, with a 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

Use 2020 to Move the Start of the Japanese School Year to September: An Idea

If only the Japanese school year started in September!  Then students taking entrance exams wouldn’t need to worry about getting the flu on exam day or winter weather keeping them from getting to the exam centers.  It would also put Japan in line with other school systems around the world, making things easier for exchange students, both those going to study overseas and those coming to Japan.

A while ago, I had the idea, “What if Japan used the final trimester prior to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 as a ‘special transition period,’ where non-traditional classes could be held, and, after the Olympics, move the start of the school year at all school levels to September?”  At the end of the year last year, I sent my idea to two government ministers and the president of Tokyo University.  I have yet to receive a response, but I am curious what others think about this idea.


一時帰国記:滞在の巻 Our Trip to the U.S.




Because of how schedules worked out, we ate lots of dinners at my sister’s house.  Good cousin time!


My brother-in-law is an awesome cook!  (My husband and my mom are good, too, but he’s hands-down awesome!)



I loved being able to spend time with my mom, especially making Christmas cookies together!


Break Down the Historical Wall:娘のスピーチ(優秀賞)




新城市では毎年、新城ロータリークラブの協力を得て、市内6つの中学校から20人の中学3年生が1週間韓国に派遣されます。今回の行程は、ソウルの観光や北緯38度線やウロクトンの見学、大邱(テグ)市の中学校との交流、大邱で2泊のホームステイ、そして慶州と釜山で観光をしてから帰るという、強行軍だけどとても充実した旅行をすることができました。 続きを読む

“Liking” English: 娘のスピーチ~メディアを通しての英語学習


本人の承諾を得て、スピーチとその和訳をここに載せます。(これで、感想文の中で「YouTubeだけはなくては生きていられない」と書いた娘が何番目の子だったか、バレてしまいますが!)岡崎市の光ヶ丘女子高等学校で開催された「第29回愛知県中学生英語弁論大会」でしたが、奨励賞を受賞することができました。出場者60人のうちのトップ6位に入ったということです。 続きを読む