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It’s starting to get real nice and hot – how can you stay cool?

July 1, 2011

There are many ways for you to stay cool during summer. The obvious choice  is to crank up the air conditioning, but Japan is short on electricity and I saw on NHK today that we’re already nearly at peak. And if you’re not from Canada and don’t have the luxury of chilling at home during August, what can you do?

Luckily, we have some tips for you.

1. Go to a pool. (Shizuoka City and area – sorry, that’s all the info I have)

Pools are cheap (300 yen), or some are even free. There are pools in Ohama, Shimokawahara, Tamachi, Mochimune, and Toshinden Pools – these will be open from July 9th to August 31st, 9:30 am to 5 pm, although circumstances may vary from pool to pool. Be aware that the Toshinden Pool is only 20 cm deep, and is more of a “water play area” than a proper swimming pool… not my first choice.
The Shimizu Sports Ground, or 総合運動場, Pool will open on the 16th and run until September 14th, with its operating hours from 9:30 am to 4:45 pm, but the 50 m pool will be open until 8:45.

2. Freeload air conditioning.

Starbucks, shopping malls, Yamada Denki; or head to your local combini and read some magazines/practice Kanji! This is a great chance to get some Japanese studying done in the food court of your local shopping centre, all while staying cool.

3. Japanese fan

According to Wikipedia “The movement of a hand-held fan provides cooling by increasing the airflow over the skin which in turn increases the evaporation rate of sweat droplets on the skin. This evaporation has a cooling effect due to the latent heat of evaporation of water. Fans are convenient to carry around, especially folding fans.”  That just makes a lot of sense to me.  The Japanese use fans, even at the office, so while you may not bust out your folding fan in your home country, it’s perfectly fine here.

4. Electric fan

An electric fan can keep things quite cool around you. If you’re using an older one which has been passed on from JET to JET for generations, be careful with any dust that may have accumulated in the motor. Run it for a while and put your hand on the motor to make sure it’s cool to the touch. Don’t leave your fan unattended – every year there are fires because of old fans overheating.  I also heard in Korea you cannot sleep with a running fan in the room as it may kill you, but luckily we’re in Japan!

5. Clothing

Light-colour if you’re going into the sun, and otherwise super-cool biz is all the rage now. Head to your local Uniqlo to find out what it’s all about. Some schools let you wear t-shirts and 3/4 pants in the summer, though don’t count on it. If you see a teacher (not the gym teacher) doing it, you can do it too. Many stores sell ultra-thin type undershirts (guys) which I have found actually help a lot – you wouldn’t think another layer could help cool you down, but I stand by it.  Many brands of dress shirts are labeled as ‘cool’, which means they are thinner, lighter, and don’t stain as easy.

6. Close your blinds

When you’re not home, close your curtains or rice paper screens. Better yet if you have any way to shield the sun outside before it gets through the glass into your apartment. You can buy roll-able bamboo screens at  home-improvement stores or shopping centres for about 300 yen. You can also get brackets or fasteners at the 100 yen store. You can fasten the screens to the outside of your windows, and for just 400 yen per window you’ll be shielding out most of the sun. Most of the screens have a mechanism to roll them up neatly, so they are out of your way when you want your windows open.  I’ll upload a picture of mine if I remember.

Any more ideas? How do you stay cool? Leave a comment!

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