Japanese Summers are notoriously hot and humid. It’s the same story every year: After the coldness of Winter, we all look forward to that relaxing interlude of perfect weather and temperature in the Spring, before the sweltering Summer takes hold with its long, humid, almost suffocating grip. If you’ve lived here for a while, you know that Japanese summers can be quite gruelling, but since in lieu of freezing ourselves in Carbonite for two months, we all have to suffer through it. To help with that, here are 7 tips to make the summer more bearable, and perhaps even enjoyable after all.
1. Get to know your local ice-cream shop or combini freezer. Trust me on this one, don’t underestimate the magic of ice-cream in the summer! Whether you prefer the traditional Japanese summertime classics: GariGari-kun, or Kakigori; the variety offered by Baskin Robbins (also known as thirty one), or the classic Azuki Bar, having a good ice cream on a hot day is a life-saver!
2. Give your body plenty of H2O.
Since up to 60% of the human adult body is made up of the stuff, it’s no surprise that we need to keep hydrating ourselves when our bodies go into cool down overdrive from June to September – especially when the temperates reach just south of Mercury in August. While many doctors would advice you to drink about 8-10 glasses of water a day, perhaps more like 12-15 is better in the summer. Of courses, you need to adjust that number according to your lifestyle. With the omnipresent convenience stores or vending machines all around, you should have no problems keeping your body hydrated.
3. Get out of your house/apartment and head to the nearest coffee shop to cut down on cooling costs during the day.
In the summer, I practically live at Starbucks. It has a smoke-free environment, free wifi, air conditioning, interesting people to meet, and coffee – a winning combination!
4. Get your AC checked/repaired before arguably the worst part of summer – August, comes rolling in.
Trust me on this, the AC is your best friend, and lifeline to bridge the time between early June and early September – especially on those hot (sweaty) summer nights when temperatures are still in the mid 20s (Why, Japan, why??).
5. Cold Showers at the end of the day.
It’s true that most people work in air-conditioned places, but just the short walk from the train/bus station to your apartment or house will leave you sweating more than Donald Trump on “Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader” (<-TV Show).
Arriving back home after a long day, there’s nothing better than to take a cold shower before winding down from the days’ events, followed by an ice-cold beer.
6. Grab some friends, a few water-pistols and head to the beach or nearest park.
You’ve probably already forgotten how much fun you had as a kid having impromptu water-pistol fights with your friends and/or family. Well, you’re never too old for a good ‘ole-fashioned water gun fight, and its a perfect way to beat the heat, and fun for everyone to boot. So, grab yourself a Nerf Super-Soaker scatter blast and go to town on your friends.
7. Get to know and love Body Wipes (or Body Sheets).
In the heat of the Japanese summer even walking a short time from one meeting to the next can feel like an intense workout, but there’s not always time for a shower. That’s where body wipes come in. These things come in various iterations and choices; whether you prefer antibacterial, infused with drying powder, or producing a refreshing “tingling” sensation, there’s something for every occasion. Easily obtained at your nearest Kusuriya, these things are a godsend in the incredible humidity of this particular time of year.
There you have it. 7 ways to beat the heat in the Japanese Summer. You may not be able to turn the temperature down or make the time to Autumn pass any quicker, but at least you can make it a lot more bearable, and perhaps even have some fun in the meantime. Here’s a bonus tip for you: As you probably already know by now, Summer season is also Festival season, and one of the best ways to enjoy the plethora of festivals from July to September is to do as the locals do, don a Yukata (浴衣) or Jimbei (甚平) and head to the nearest festival. Here’s an Official List of Festivals to enjoy this summer. Stay cool out there!