Your Home And School In The Summer
Summers are hot and humid. If you don’t have air-conditioning, make sure that at least have a functioning fan, preferably one with a timer & remote control. If you don’t have air-conditioning, the best way to spend the summer is to open all of the windows and place a fan so that it blows air through your apartment (i.e. place it in the middle of the room between two windows.) If you do have air-conditioning, try to set it at 28 C (80 F) – the official energy-saving guideline in Japan’s current energy crisis. Try using a fan instead as much as possible. Some air-conditioners have a remote control with a timer – set it to turn on before you come home from work and to turn off a while after you go to bed. This is a convenient way to stay comfortable and save money. It may be possible to get a timer if you don’t have one, so ask your supervisor/go-between.
At school, the classrooms probably won’t have air-conditioning, but perhaps the staff room will. Each school has a different dress code, so observe your fellow teachers to gain a general idea of what is acceptable. There will usually be a set day when the students (and by extension the teachers) will change from summer-wear to winter-wear. It is probably best to abide by this lest you be asked a million times, Samukunai? (Aren’t you cold?)
Due to the current energy crisis, Japanese offices have their thermostats set to 28 C (80 F), and employers encourage their employees to wear lighter clothing during the summer (called “Cool Biz” or “Eco Style”). For men, this often means no neckties and short-sleeved button up shirts, and for women it means short-sleeved blouses and knee-length skirts or capri pants.
Even in the summer, tank-tops, shorts, miniskirts, and open toed sandals are typically a major no-no. However, like everything, this differs according to each school, so again, observe the dress code or ask.
Tips For Rainy Season
- Check out some of the Useful Items with pictures
- Consider getting an electric dehumidifier. They can be expensive new, but they can be more affordable at the recycle shop. This is a must especially if you live near water. They also make good but slow clothes dryers for drying clothes inside.
- Desiccant tubs and packets. These can all be obtained at the 100 yen shop or at Jusco/Besia/whatever. Put the tubs in closets in corner and under the sink. Put packets in your drawers. They also make hanger versions you can put on the rack in your closets.
- Get vacuum bags and seal up all unused futons, sheets and winter sweaters. Stick in a desiccant pack and vacuum seal them.
- Go to the coin laundry to dry your clothes if possible.
- Stock up on 100 yen umbrellas as you will have at least 3 stolen from you every season.
- Make sure to perform regular maintenance on your bikes and the like –this is a prime time for corrosion to set in.
Tips For Dealing With The Heat
- Avoid salty foods and sugary soft drinks or caffeinated drinks–these just make you drier and more thirsty. Try drinking sports drinks (Aquarius, etc) instead.
- Make sure you are stocked up on your favorite brand of deodorant from home as the stuff they sell here does not work on gaijin-sized sweat glands
- Carry a bottle of water with you everywhere–get one that hooks onto your bag
- Consider investing in an air conditioner–they are expensive and consume a lot of electricity but they keep you comfortable. The best time to buy an air conditioner is well before summer hits, as they are cheaper and more available then. (If you try to buy an AC in mid-summer, the store may be sold out.) Expect to pay between 40,000 and 80,000 yen.