How to Beat Japanese Summer Heat When Traveling in Japan?
A cold Drink from an Altruistic, Eco-minded Vending Machine can do the Trick!
You know those times on the train platform where the crowds make you cringe?
You are not cringing at the people per se, just the clammy ugginess of the possibility of contact with clammy, sweaty summer skin. Yes, we all share your feelings. Not even an elbow bump here or a happenstance brush up there. NOOOOOOOOO! The humidity and heat of a Japanese Summer can make you wait for several trains, hoping for a less crowded one to come along, just so you don't have to get in close proximity to another meltingly hot person like yourself ☺
Yes, close quarters during a Japanese Summer can be dreadful. But, it is dreadful for EVERYONE! Japanese people don't like close quarters in Summer either so if you look closely at the pros who survive a Nippon Summer every year, you will find lots of little hints to beat the heat from your fellow Summer friends.
Do you see people flitting fans on the train? Yep, a good way to beat the heat is keep a little fan in your bag (sometimes smart advertisers will pass “Uchiwa” fans out on the sidewalk or at stores in Summer so don't forget to take one).
Do you notice all the umbrellas up when ladies are out and about? Yep, those are the rain/sun multifunctional retractable parasols you see on sale outside every shop around Japan. They may look a bit pricey at 1500 to 2000 yen (15 to 20 USD), but keeping one tucked in your bag will be a smart gadget to keep you out of the sun and rain in a pinch.
Do you see the multitude of vending machines everywhere? Notice there are no red buttons in Summer because all the drinks inside are cold. You can use your suica pre-paid train card to buy your cool drink on the platform and it is not against protocol to drink it down before you board the train. One tip though, it is more proper in Japan to sit down when drinking or eating, so if you want to be really cool on the platform, find a seat before you start downing your refreshment.
By the way, if in doubt, make sure to buy your drink from a Suntory vending machine. These very “smart” machines have reduced electricity consumption for less CO 2 emission and above all, Suntory has implemented a system where all the machines would be opened up and unlocked to provide free drink access in the case of a earthquake or disaster like we had on March 11, 2011.
The Suntory drinks are unique and tasty and the company is truly in touch with how to protect the environment, be there for us in case of trouble and provide needed refreshment all year round.
Do you see signs for shaved ice (Kakigoori) and soft cream ice cream everywhere? Yes, these are staple snacks for a hot Summer day. So instead of an ice coffee or ice tea, try some Japanese style shaved ice with Azuki beans and sweet syrup to refresh you and get you going again back out on the hot streets.
Be smart, look around and mimic what everyone else is doing to beat the heat and you might just learn to enjoy and cherish the heat and sultry style of a Japanese summer.
Former Deep Japan Writer