Saturday, August 10, 2013

It's Too Hot + Hiyashi Ame

Every single summer in August I have a similar post- that's when my tolerance level to high heat and humidity plummets. It's my fourth summer in Japan, and although I'm getting used to it and know what to expect, it always takes me by surprise when temperatures rise to 40 degrees celcius, and it goes on for several days. Hello, global warming...

I'm not a summer person, and have never been. My skin doesn't tan. My hair becomes a lion's mane. I don't know what to wear anymore. I hate shoes that show toes. I don't particularly like tank tops and shorts, nor look great in them. I don't enjoy having to carry a towel around to wipe my brow. I am not a fan of summer collections. Give me autumn clothes anytime, boots, knits, scarves, glorious coats and gloves.

Instead of complaining I usually write Summer Survival Guides, which contain tips to minimize the effects of this weather. To be fair, Japan is so well-prepared for extreme weathers (just like in winter), as they release all kinds of seasonal must-have items like cooling neck towels, minty face and body wipes, light and sweat-proof clothing collections (Uniqlo and MUJI usually has them), mini fans and even summer-specific menus.

Last week in Kyoto I tried a drink called hiyashi ame. Most people in Tokyo are probably not familiar with this as it's found mostly in Kansai, but it's a cold ginger drink with a bit of sugar, and it's so tasty and refreshing! I found a great recipe here. Ginger in general tends to be refreshing and soothing in hot weather, if you feel a bit queasy.

I mostly stick to cold water, green tea and mugi cha (roasted barley tea) on a daily basis. Sometimes it's easy to lose your appetite in this heat, but it's important to eat regular meals and hydrate constantly.

Any other tips to survive summer in Japan?

Hiyashi Ame

Please try it if you see this sign


Travie said...

First of all, big fan of your blog. I used to live in Japan and your writings portal me back. Thank you.

Not sure about you but I found perceptions of the Japanese weather always depended on where people came from. I remember a guy from Canada that I knew was like "oh, the winter here is so short", being from Australia, was like "mate, you gotta be kidding me, this winter is intense!". Conversely, summer for people from the warmer states in the U.S or Australia was not so bad but was horrible for others.

Anyway, a great summer cooler: kakigori!! Blue flavour!

Vivian said...

Travis: Thank you so much for your kind comment. Where in Japan did you live? And yes, the winter in Japan is tropical for a Canadian like myself :)

Travie said...

Lol at least Canadians get days off school because of snow? That must be pretty cool :-)

I lived in Osaka. First in Nakatsu with an old Japanese lady who liked teaching me Japanese but had OCD (a rather interesting disorder to observe) and then to a little 1DK right between Tenmabashi and Tanimachi 4-chome. An all together amazing and enjoyable experience. Good on you for having the courage and determination to make a go of it over there.

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