Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's Bleeping Hot

Our autocratic school administration decides who gets air, when, and some cold-blooded fool decides how not cold to set it.

You might think, Ahhh, it can't be that bad.  If you are thinking that, you either live in a 3rd world country and are accustomed to these temperatures, which is admirable, or you are a refrigerated American.

Like many other core differences between the US and Japan, I never would have believed the truth had I not seen it and lived it.  I am not joking or exaggerating:  Japanese people wear sweaters all summer.  The Japanese are quite careful about sun exposure.  The women wear bicep length gloves during the summer.  When it got hot, these long gloves started showing up on the racks.  People wear scarves around their necks, giant hats, and pants during what seem to me like odd circumstances.  For instance, at the school festival sports day.  This is a casual, all day event, held out in the sun in September.  Despite the 90s F heat we were in last year on sports day, people wore long track pants and scarves.  Yesterday it was in the mid 80s F, and I watched a student getting ready for track practice in a Puma tracksuit, long sleeves and long pants.  The air was turned on in the teacher's room today, and the classrooms each have an AC, but the halls and bathrooms are not air conditioned.   

I don't know if its true, but I have been told by several different sources that Japanese bodies have a cooler base than western bodies.  It sounds a little preposterous for humans from different countries to have different core temps, but most people are familiar with the fact that people of different races have different predispositions to certain diseases.  Stranger things have happened

The difference between hearing about the heat and experiencing it is akin to how all Japanese people know that we heathen Americans wear our shoes in the house.  Japanese people have heard this over and over again and seem to think it's not a big deal... until they experience it.  My Japanese friends who have actually been in an American house felt the discomfort of walking around a home with their shoes on.  One time I was drawing a blue print of my American town home and my teaching partner started asking in which parts of the house we actually wear our shoes.  She was flabbergasted that we wear our shoes in the bathroom, the same place where we are barefoot to bathe.  Then she started asking about the areas between the bathroom and the closet, and the kitchen, and it hit her that it's a lot more different than she had first percieved.

So, anyway, it's hot.  Something must be done.  I have resolved that I will buy more cooling devices for my apartment, as I was dripping sweat this morning at 7am in nothing more than my skivvies.  I needed a fan pointed at me just so I had the will to get dressed.  I must say though, I think it's better than winter.

From Japan,


Megan said...

Refrigerated Americans -- that's a good way to put it.

My only reference point is being in Spain during the summer 6 years ago and while I felt like I was hot and sweaty most of the time, I eventually adjusted and when I finally returned to the US, was freezing for a good few days before I re-acclimated. They don't have AC most places and so everybody wore loose, cute clothing or skirts, and the women used fans. Something about it was very FANciful.

Hope you get some relief soon and can chill out!!

KaiKinapela said...

^ I agree with Megan.

When I was younger I used to go to camp every summer for a month. This camp was in the middle of Texas. All of our lessons were outside and the cabins were not air conditioned. The first few days were difficult but my body adjusted and I was fine. I would freeze when I would return home.

I think Japanese people are just used to it and can adapt quicker. They have grown up with this kind of setting and that is what their bodies are used to...

Tiffany said...

I know it's totally that I am not adjusted. The locals are just used to wearing cardigans in summer. I only have one more year. I don't think I'll get there.