How is Japan beating the heat this summer?
This summer, the whole world is feeling the heat. Musicians and sports teams are canceling outdoor events in the wake of unsustainable temperatures. Planes limit the number of passengers because hot air makes flying more difficult. Wildfires spread across vast areas of North America and Europe.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) predicts that summer temperatures will break many previous records. The entire Northern Hemisphere is currently being affected by one of the most intense and dangerous heat waves ever recorded. (1)
Japan is no exception.
A heat wave hits Japan
On July 17, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) issued extreme heat warnings for six regions in Japan. Only Hokkaido and Tohoku are exempt.
The warning indicated that temperatures in central, western and southern Japan could reach 40 degrees Celsius/104 degrees Fahrenheit. They encouraged residents to stay indoors, drink water, and wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing when outdoor activities cannot be avoided. JMO also expected disruptions to public transportation, as extreme heat could cause train tracks to buckle. (2)
In addition to the solutions called for by the JMA, the Japanese people have come up with several unique ways to deal with the unprecedented heat.
Umbrellas continued to be widely used even after the rainy season ended. Portable devices such as personal fans and neck coolers have become popular. Some stores have installed misters to keep customers cool. The signature mushroom-shaped snack, “Kinoko no Yama”, has released a “naked” version that lacks the snack’s traditional chocolate coating so it doesn’t melt in the heat!
Under My Sun Brilla, Gimmick
The JMA announced that the rainy season has officially ended in all regions of Japan. However, this has not stopped people from bringing umbrellas with them almost everywhere they go. As the sun sets, a crowd of umbrellas moves through downtown Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and other major Japanese cities.
The “sun umbrella” is primarily a trend exclusive to Japan that involves carrying an umbrella in hot, sunny weather. While some people buy and use paper umbrellas for this purpose, others rely on thick cloth or nylon umbrellas similar to those used during the rainy season. Originally, companies marketed sunshades to women as a way to block UV rays and prevent sunburn. However, recently, due to the extreme heat, many men have started buying and using sun umbrellas as well. (3)
Tools and tools
If you walk into a Japanese department store or a variety store like Don Quijote, you’ll be met with shelves upon shelves of products designed to beat the heat. Japan is known for its gadgets and technology, and staying cool is no exception. Customers in Japan can choose from a wide range of items aimed at helping them stay cool during this record-breaking summer.
Cooling face and eye masks are treated with menthol to produce a direct cooling effect on the skin. People use neck straps to store ice blocks or packs, keeping the vulnerable back of the neck cool and free of sunlight.
Many brands produce disposable towels designed to remove sweat and leave skin feeling refreshed temporarily. Some brands even sell “dry shampoo wipes” that customers use to wipe oil and grease from the hair while out and about. Many of these products are very cheap, costing 1,000 yen or less. Some can even be found on Japanese store shelves for 100 yen!
Of course, one of the most enjoyable ways to keep cool is to eat delicious foods. Japan is no exception! Arguably Japan’s signature summer dish is kakiguri. Summer festivals offer this shaved ice, which is available in a variety of flavors.
Ice cream is also very popular, with 7-11 and other convenience stores featuring huge freezers and ice chests filled with frozen desserts. And the “naked” Kinoko no Yama aren’t the only unique snacks making their debut in the heat of summer. Popular candy brand Morinaga has come up with ‘salt tablets’ that can help people stay hydrated even in the midst of a heatwave.
However, Japan is no slouch when it comes to delicious foods that stand up to the heat, too. Cold somen, zaro soba, and zaro udon noodles are filling and nourishing while remaining cold. Hiayako, or chilled tofu, makes a nutritious snack. Umeboshi, also known as pickled plum, is also believed to boost appetite and energy in hot weather due to its high citric acid content.
Unfortunately, the heatwave hitting the Northern Hemisphere is currently expected to continue throughout the summer. However, if you want to stay cool, why not take a leaf out of Japan’s book and grab a parasol or some delicious ice cubes? With the tips provided in this article, you can stay cool in Japanese style all summer long!
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(1) World Meteorological Organization. “Synchronous heatwaves hit the Northern Hemisphere in an extremely hot summer.” https://public.wmo.int/en/media/news/simultaneous-heatwaves-hit-northern-hemisphere-summer-of-extremes
(2) JMA heat wave alerts. https://www.jma.go.jp/bosai/information/heat.html
(3) Yogasa Times. https://www.kasaya.com/times/