Is it your dream to teach English in Japan?
It’s so humid and hot in Japan that there’s a Japanese word meaning Summer Fatigue: Natsu Bate.
Not everyone gets summer fatigue, but those who are frequently in and out of air conditioned spaces or outside in the heat can get these symptoms.
My main symptom is that I want to eat ice cream or sleep all summer. And grumpy. Tired-hungry-grumpy-face.
Sleep cycles change because of the extra daylight, waking some of us up as early as 4:00AM. Good curtains or an eye mask will probably have you covered for a little while, maybe. It quickly becomes hot early in the day, and doesn’t cool off much at night. If you’re thinking about living in Japan and the heat and humidity scares you, there’s always Hokkaido. (I’m not sure how much dark they have on summer nights, but I hear the humidity is more under control.)
All this to say, you might want to try to fall asleep earlier or take naps, if you want your usual amount of sleep / sanity.
MMMMM. Cold foods (like hiyashi chuka, mmm) help us feel cooler, but cooling foods help us feel better as well. Think cucumbers, tomatoes and eggplants which help with the extra sunlight, and watermelon. Lemon, cucumbers, and / or mint in your water is fancy and cooling. Maybe try eating some goya – there must be a reason it’s so popular in the even-hotter-all-year Okinawa. Unagi? What do you like to eat during summer?
Too much cold food can leave us feeling sick as well. It’s a shock to the stomach, along with the change in temperature when you go between outside and air conditioned spaces. This stress to our bodies is part of the reason we get tired more quickly.
Hydration is key for summer in Japan and avoiding the Natsu Bate. Don’t leave the house without a beverage, and when it’s empty, refill it. Coffee and alcohol can be tasty, but take it easy and make sure you’ve had some water in between other drinks.
I hear if we’re thirsty, we can feel hungry. This is probably why I don’t lose my appetite during summer. In fact I want to eat everything. Right now.
Drink some mugi cha, herbal tea, sports drinks, juice, and duh, water. All the time.
Sweating is good for us and helps us feel cooler. Don’t be scared of sweat, but make sure you’re getting enough liquids. Get some of the cooling ice type ‘deodorant body paper’ by Gatsby or Biore to use before work if you’re feeling stinky.
But hey, have you noticed a lot of Japanese people don’t even use deodorant and don’t stink? It could be related to diet?
If we don’t want to waste money or want to be more environmentally friendly, there’s always going to public air conditioned places when you aren’t working. I’ve found staying in an air conditioned space during the hottest time of day helps me to feel less lazy and more rational.
Enjoy Yama no hi (Mountain Day)!