Now that the rainy season has arrived, what perfect timing to discuss how to survive this time of heat, moisture and sweat. And now, 40 ways to survive the rainy season in Japan:
1. Buy an air conditioner. Although, you may find buying a car is a better investment.
2. Try an electric fan (or two, three… or ten). Fans are a great alternative if you wish to avoid using an air conditioner, because of its harmful effects on the environment. *Tip: put a bowl of ice in front of the fan for cooler air.
3. Go out. Take advantage of the A/C spewing out in every public building and mode of transportation – on the train, in restaurants, at the mall, in movie theaters. Sure, you have to spend a little, but it’s cheaper than buying an air conditioner (unless you REALLY like to shop).
4. Don’t go out. Contrary to #2, if you own and use an air conditioner, why not stay in?
5. Carry a “sweat” towel. Everyone uses them. You will need it. The day you forget is a day you’ll regret. (I know, so cheesy. But seriously, forgetting the towel can be miserable, especially when you resort to wiping sweat off on your already-sweaty clothes).
6. Drink lots of water. Carry a water bottle. Of course, vending machines everywhere make it nearly impossible to become dehydrated, but why not show the earth you care? Especially if you own and use an air conditioner. Either that or carry a crap-load of change (although, this is inevitable in Japan).
7. Buy a pretty hand fan (団扇, uchiwa or 扇子, sensu). Or just take the free, plastic ones people pass out at train stations.
8. Eat hiyashi chuuka. And zarusoba. And somen. Basically, just eat cold noodles.
9. Indulge in soft cream. Here’s your chance to try every flavor you’ve ever wanted for the sake of staying cool. Lactose-intolerant? Avoiding dairy? Uh, well, see #19. Try fro-yo or sorbet instead.
10. Use an umbrella. They aren’t just for rain in Japan! Then again, it IS the rainy season, so the umbrella is dual-purpose.
11. Camp out at the beach. Although, if the ground starts shaking: run. Away from the beach.
12. Get a haircut. As short as possible.
13. Accept the fact that your hair will not behave and frizz out for the next few months.
14. Go swimming. (does it even need to be said...)
15. Head to the hills. It’s just cooler. At least, in the woods, not on the face of a mountain with no tree cover.
16. Brace yourself for bugs. They come in droves.
17. Buy a mosquito net for your bed. If you are like me and attract mosquitoes all the time, especially at night while sleeping, get something. (alternatively, see the Mosquito Repellent post below)
18. If you don’t buy a net, accept the fact that you probably won’t sleep well due to mosquitoes until summer is over. If you sleep like a rock, well, you’ll just have to deal with itchy bites. Unless your one of those lucky jerks who seem to repel mosquitoes. I wish I was you.
*For a complete guide on how to keep away mosquitoes this summer in Japan, try A Survival Guide to Mosquito Repellent in Japan. And for those annoying bites, How to Find Anti-itch, Insect Medicine in Japan.
19. Buy an ice cream maker from Amazon.jp. (Be sure to check your freezer space first - if you even have a freezer…)
20. Take two showers a day. (No, this isn’t green, but you’ll need them).
21. Visit an onsen or sento. Clean off the sweat and whatever else is sticking to you.
22. Accept the fact that people will repeatedly say “atsui desu ne” (暑いですね, it’s hot, isn’t it) for the next few months. Even if you and they are all sweating in a room, with thick, stagnant air and it’s incredibly obvious that you are all experiencing heat exhaustion, someone will still pipe up, “it’s hot, isn’t it?”
23. Don’t sit in a school gymnasium with the entire student body if the sliding doors are shut. Don’t do it.
24. Drink ocha (green tea) and mugicha (barley tea) and the many other cold teas.
25. Wear deodorant. (Obviously)
*Can't find deodorant? Try, How to Find (Good) Deodorant in Japan
26. Take a trip. Go anywhere that doesn’t have a rainy season, or is currently in the middle of winter.
27. Accept the fact that your sweat will rarely leave your body unless you are carrying around that sweat towel.
28. Wear quick drying clothes. Spend tons on nice clothes through an outdoor retailer, or just go to Uniqlo.
29. Mold will grow everywhere. Keep your living area aired out. Put produce in a crisper or fridge.
30. Carry around wet wipes. These are great for any time of the year, but you may find them more necessary in summer when out and about.
31. Carry extra clothes. Always have a rain jacket, if not a small umbrella. Extra socks and/or sandals may also come in handy. An extra shirt and pants or shorts may also be useful if you find yourself soaked (either from rain or your own sweat).
32. Grab those packs of tissues everyone hands out near train stations. Never know when you’ll need them.
33. Buy a blender.
34. Make smoothies with the blender. Buy frozen fruit from The Flying Pig, and/or freeze your own, add veggies and whatever else for a nice chilled treat.
35. Wear crocs. Everyone wears them here, particularly during summer and the rainy season. Waterproof, cheap, and… stylish? When in Rome…
36. Buy some sweat pads.
37. Drink sports drinks. And eat food with soy sauce. Make sure you replenish the salt you’re losing, especially if you have low blood pressure. (Of course, if you have high blood pressure, forget this entirely.)
38. Take cold showers or baths.
39. Use a Laundromat, an air dryer, or a dehumidifier to dry your clothes and bedding if you need them right away. You can hang them outside (as is custom here), but be prepared for longer drying time.
40. Live in Hokkaido. They don’t even have a rainy season. (Uh, but winter is an entirely different story...)
What about you, fellow Japan residents? How do you survive the rainy season?