Planning a trip to Japan in the summer? Or are you living in Japan, and summer is just around the corner? Japanese summer is hot. And humid. But I think I’ve learned how to survive Japanese summers. Summer in Japan is much hotter and more humid than my home in Canada. So I have had to learn how to deal with the heat and humidity and thus survive Japanese summers. This post will give you some advice on how to beat the heat and humid and make summer somewhat bearable.
10 tips to survive Japanese summers
1.Use the “dry” setting on your air conditioner
Instead of using the air conditioner setting, use the dry (joushitsu) setting. It’s supposed to take moisture from the air while not being as cold as regular A/C. I prefer it because the air conditioner is too cold for me. And the A/C makes my throat and eyes dry if it is on for too long.
2. Use a fan
You know, a fan. A stand fan or a ceiling fan both work. I don’t think it brings the electricity bill up quite as much as the air conditioner. Recently I read that you can also freeze a bottle of water and put it in front of the fan so that it will blow cold air on you. I was intrigued, so I gave this a try. I can’t say I felt much difference, and it left a water stain on my chair. So not sure I would recommend this. Still, fans by themselves work just fine.
2. Use a hand fan
If you want a greener option than both the air conditioner and a fan, try a hand-held fan. You can buy them for ¥100 and sometimes get them for free from someone passing them out on the street.
3. Fold your futon EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
This is important. I learned this mistake the hard way. It is very very humid during Japanese summer, and therefore easy for mould to grow. I used to sleep on a futon on the floor, and I didn’t air it out in the mornings. One day, I stuck my hand underneath it and found that it was dripping wet. In horror, I flipped it over to find patches of black mould all over the bottom. I cleaned it off the best I could, and from that day on aired it out every day. Also I came to the conclusion that that’s why I had been getting sick a lot. I just stood it on it’s side and folded it like an accordion so it didn’t fall down. But even better is to hang it outside over a balcony railing in the sun.
4. Buy a towelkit or a cold-to-touch blanket
This is a Japanese creation (I think). It is a blanket, but made out of towel-like material. It is supposed to not be so hot when you are trying to sleep in the hot nights. There are also blankets made from other materials that are cool to the touch. You can get a blanket, mattress pad, and pillow covers made from this magical material.
5. Eat cold noodles
If you are not familiar, cold noodles might sounds weird. But they are actually quite tasty. Although I wasn’t a fan of the Korean cold noodle soup. Cold Japanese soba is easy to make and a refreshing meal when it is hot and humid. You can buy different kinds of cold noodle dishes at the convenience store.
6. Eat kakigori
This is shaved ice, and it’s a popular Japanese summer treat, with kids at least. It’s topped with sugary fruit juice and sometimes topped with real fruit. It’s alright, but sometimes it hurts my sensitive teeth. I like to eat it when I go to the beach though. An icy treat might help you survive Japanese summers.
And on that note:
7. Go to the beach!
It’s hot and humid, so it sounds like beach weather, no? Go to the beach. Make the most of summer while you can. Beaches can get a bit crowded, but whatever. That’s part of the fun of going to the beach sometimes.
8. Battle the mosquitos
There a lot of mosquitos in Japan, at least in my apartment anyway. There are some different tools that you buy to keep them away – vaporizers, intense, and hanging things. I recently bought a couple of things, and I have to say they might actually be working. I think I have noticed less mosquitos.
8.5. And the cockroaches
Personally, I don’t have a problem with cockroaches. In fact, I have a strange fondness for them. If I find one in my house, I try and catch it and put it outside before my husband comes to kill it. They’re fast though, so it’s hard to catch them. Try not to keep food out or let the trash get too full. Though I find them in the toilet and shower too, so I doubt you can really keep them away. Unless you live on a high floor.
9. Be ready for never-ending “atsui desu ne.”
This means “it’s hot, isn’t it?” Yeah, it’s hot. Everyone knows it’s hot. It’s 30+ degrees. Why do you keep saying it. It’s not helpful. Though I admit, I do it too. You will even hear it from random people on the street talking to themselves.
Read: Holiday season in Japan
10. Accept the fact that you will not stop sweating until October
Once rainy season has started you will be sweaty. All. The. Time. It will be dripping down your back and your legs on your walk to the station. Just accept it.
11. Go to a Japanese summer festival
Why not survive Japanese summers by making the most of it. There are many summer festivals in Japan, like Bon Matsuri in August. Starting in June and going through August, you will surely be able to find a festival in your town. Put on your yukata, bring your fan, get some takoyaki and a cold drink, and watch the fireworks. It’s still hot and humid, but at least it’s something fun to look forward to.
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Ten tips to survive Japanese summers turned into 11 and a half tips. You’re very welcome.
This list is not exhaustive, and I’m sure that are things I’ve missed. Let me know other ways that help you survive Japanese summers, or hot humid summers in general.