Tokyo Teachers Beating the Summer Heat

Tokyo Teachers Beating the Summer Heat
Some Effective Ways to Stay Cool in Japan’s Brutal Summertime Sun
While Japan is not really known for temperature extremes and has what appears on paper to be a moderate climate, there are definitely particular times of the year that may surprise a teacher coming to live and work in Japan. And that variety can be a good thing – who living here hasn’t heard the proud (if questionable) “We are a country with 4 seasons” line from their students? But for the foreigner in Japan, some of the “seasons” are certainly more bearable than others. Summer is hot in Tokyo, not so much on paper (around 36-38 C or the low 80s F) but due to the sticky, oppressive humidity.

(1) Dress Light – the “Cool Biz”

Although eikaiwa have been easing up on the formality in recent years and some schools now allow teaching in nice-but-relaxed outfits or even streetwear, in general most teachers will still be in business casual at least. The common Japanese businesswear shop carries all kinds of clothing for both men and women in lightweight, breathable fabrics suited for the humid climate. It’s now widely acceptable to wear short sleeves for me and sleeveless for women. And thanks to the ubiquity, it’s not all that expensive to pick up some more suitable summer fashions. And for those of you still required to sport the full suit, Japan has affordable hot-weather suits (which will still be hot as hell in my experience, but go a long way towards increasing your comfort level!)

(2) Stay Hydrated

This seems like a no-brainer, but getting dehydrated due to the heat and humidity can really sneak up on you. To avoid heatstroke in the summer you need to take it plenty of liquids!
What to drink? Japan has its own native “sports drinks” like Aquarius and Pocari Sweat, although a glance at the nutritional label will show they’re a sugary treat as much as anything else. One good option is “mugi-cha”, a kind of barley tea. While not exactly exciting to the tastebuds, it’s good for staying hydrated, available everywhere (vending machines and convenience stores) and if you decide to make it at home with teabags from the supermarket, it’s as cheap as it gets! This is also a good opportunity to justify that fancy, cute, or stylish drink bottle you saw at Tokyu Hands.

(3) Bring Deodorant!

Japan may be the land of dancing robots and advanced computing, but it can feel way behind in the all-so-important field of deodorant/antiperspirant development. This may be where the myth that “Japanese people don’t sweat” comes from (they do though!) If you are a person who naturally sweats a lot, or if you have to be ever vigilant about your body odor, you need to consider stocking up on whatever underarm treatment you’re happy with from back home. Amazon’s international shipping can be pricey, but it may just be worth the cost.

(4) When in Rome…

Who knows better how to survive the Japanese summer than the Japanese? Look at how people around you adapt, and follow suit! Things like carrying wet wipes, sun parasols, cooling sprays, and handheld electric fans may seem odd or embarrassing to the teacher in Japan from overseas, but they are all common here. So look around you and do your best to blend in!

(5) Bring a… sweater??

As the mercury rises, office buildings all over Japan crank up their air conditioners to keep your school refreshing cool for your students. But remember… your student is only there for an hour or so. You’ll be sitting under that chilly air conditioner all shift long, while dressed for the heat outside! Don’t be shivering through your lessons – bring something that you can put on after getting to the office just in case.
However you adapt to the summer, take care of your health in these trying times!