Friday, 12 November 2010

Hot as Hades Japan is.

Now that the weather has completely cooled off and I can sleep without air conditioning and with a blanket I thought I would tell you all about our summer here in Japan. Japan is a very hot summer climate country, although this summer was apparently the hottest in recorded Japanese history. The temperature barely changed from day to night (we experienced a stretch of 48 days where night temps did not go below 25 degrees) floating around 37.5 degrees on a daily basis. It was an excruciating time to be living in Western Japan. According to the news 132 people died from heatstroke and around 40,000 were hospitalized for the condition. Needless to say this ruined much of the summer for us as it was just too hot to do much. Classic activities like Hiking, fishing, going to the store felt like a journey through the Congolese savanna.
Not to be a moaner here but this summer was the worst thing I have ever experienced, just too hot to do much of anything. The heat here in Kansai Japan was made worse by the fact that Japanese houses are foolishly uninsulated, only have single pane windows, lack a centralized air system and are drafty as a screen. This meant that without pumping our air conditioning in the bedroom we were living in a sauna. I never really realized how vital insulation and double paned windows were until living in this sieve of a house in 40 degree temperatures. The garden fared terribly with most plants bolting or wilting or just altogether producing poorly. Fishing sucked in general, fish were avoiding lures and being very lazy both in the sea and lakes.
What this summer has done for us was to give us a good lesson in using traditional Japanese clothing. They have these great light summer outfits made of a loose weave cotton called a jinbe which does fabulous for allowing any breeze to help cut the heat. Also wearing a towel on your head or a long thin towel around your head like a ninja did marvelous at keeping the noggin dry and cool. We became really inventive and found ways around the heat but still sufferred greatly. All in all the ordeal, and I do not use the word lightly, has really made us look forward to and cherish that cool climate of home. So now that I am sure things have cooled off we can explore more of Japan than we did in the summer, and I promise to never moan about a hot day again after living through Japan's summer inferno.

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