Summers in Japan becoming intolerable

TOKYO —

Remember when summer was fun?

Not that enervating heat and humidity are new to Japan, but before global warming, before the urban heat island effect, it was (more or less) tolerable because at least it was natural. In 2010, Tokyo had 71 days of temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius; in 2011 and 2012, more than 60 days each. It’s been 1,000 years since Japan knew such extended heat waves, meteorologist Masamitsu Morita tells Shukan Gendai (July 6). “We have entered a new meteorological era,” he says. This summer, he warns, looks to be even worse.

Here and there, it already is. Nationwide, the week of June 10-16 saw ambulances responding to nearly 1,500 calls from people suffering heatstroke. The nation’s first “tropical nights,” meaning low temperatures of 25 degrees or more, were recorded in Hiroshima and Okayama on June 13 – 30 days earlier than last year (which, as noted above, was bad enough). Okayama’s low that night of 25.4 degrees was 6.4 degrees above average for this time of year.

For the Kanto region this summer, Morita predicts an average temperature 0.5 degrees higher than normal. Half a degree doesn’t sound like much. Any comfort you draw from that is misleading, Morita explains. What it means in layman’s terms is more days than ever before of temperatures near, at or over 40 degrees – at a time when, with 50 of Japan’s 52 nuclear reactors shut down following 2011’s triple nuclear meltdown, pressure is high to conserve energy by turning air conditioners down. “Cool biz” – office dress deregulation designed to make air conditioning less necessary – is the harried company employee’s only workaday defense against the intensified swelter.

It’s not just Japan, of course. “World temperatures could well be setting records this year,” Shukan Gendai quotes the eminent American climatologist James Hansen as forecasting back in January.

Of all forms of suffering, summer heat is probably the one that best brings out the stoic in us. The typical response, Shukan Gendai says, is, “Don’t complain about the heat. Summer’s hot and that’s that!” That reflects well on our character but poorly on our common sense. Temperatures are soaring high enough to turn a discomfort into a danger. Over the past few summers, 40,000-50,000 people being hospitalized for heatstroke has become normal. In 2010, 1,731 people died from it. And in 2010, nuclear reactors, and therefore air conditioners, were still functioning at full capacity.

Worse yet, summer is not only intensifying but lengthening. Once upon a time you could look forward to relief in mid-September. No longer. A worst-case scenario includes water shortages. “The chances that this will be just such a summer,” Shukan Gendai says, “are, unfortunately, extremely high.”

  • 19

    kimuzukashiiiii

    Summer in Japan is very hot, however heatstroke is COMPLETELY preventable, if people would use common sense and not go farming / to the beach / do baseball training in the midday head.

    They just have to use common sense.... thats the problem. And their common sense puts baseball practice above the safety of the kids playing unfortunately.

    If it gets as bad as they say, schools should implement "no outside" times when the sun is hottest. But they wont.

  • -14

    gaijintraveller

    What a load of rubbish. Summer is the best season in Japan. Winter is much too cold especially in Japanese housing. Before summer truly starts we have the rainy season. Who thinks that is better? Well, I suppose rice farmers like, but most Japanese no longer farm rice.

    Get out of the house and enjoy the summer, or at least try opening some windows and using a fan. Try eating outside in your garden if you have one, in a park if you don't. Learn to enjoy Japan's best season.

  • 13

    theResident

    @gaijintraveller: What a load of tosh. I love the weather here, we have 4 very defined seasons here that are surprisingly regular in temperature and precipitation. Rainy season isn't even the wettest time here. September/October are. But I despise the end of July through beginning of September like many people do. Its not the heat, its the humidity. So, unless you are commenting from Hokkaido, which I suspect you are not, you don't know what you are talking about. Too cold in Japanese houses in the winter? Move to a newer apartment with proper insulation. 20 years ago, yes, I'll agree it was a problem, but no longer.

  • 38

    SimondB

    It would help if the clocks were adjusted so that the sun does not rise at 4.00AM in the summer meaning it is close to it's peak heat when people are on the way to work.

  • -3

    sangetsu03

    Quite intereting. In a BBC interview with Dr Phil Jones,Director of the Climate Research Center, and key member of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Dr Jones admitted that there HAS BEEN NO INCREASE IN WORLD TEMPERATURES In nearly 15 years. None, nada, zip. Not a single one of the outrageously expensive computer climate models funded by the IPCC produced even a remotely accurate prediction. All models predicted hotter weather, which didn't occur.

    The weather in the Japanese metro areas have increased, but mainly due to the fact that huge amounts of asphalt and concrete, not to mention milions of devices (cars, trucks, buses, lights, video displays, powere transformers) which create heat of varying degrees have appeared in the cities. How much hotter is an asphalt street than a grass field? Tokyo city planners know this of course, many of the wider streets have been painted a light gray color to reflect heat away.

    People are dying from the heat this summer, as they do every summer, but a least ten times as many people die each winter from the cold. I am tired of the fear-mongering pedalled by the UN and press. There are bigger fish to fry.

  • 5

    Marilita Fabie-Fujisawa

    I love summer in whatever's country I may be..what I find annoying though is this scarves the woman wear over their pretty dresses. It defeats the purpose of looking smart. I don't understand this long black cloth they wear over their arm as well. Sun visors that make them look like black crows because it goes all the way down to their chins. ??? A lot of weird summer goodies.

  • 20

    Himajin

    that there HAS BEEN NO INCREASE IN WORLD TEMPERATURES In nearly 15 years.

    There were never summers with temperatures of 37 or 38 degrees here in the past, and it almost never snows in Kita-ku anymore and there used to be snow and ice on the ground for most of the winter 30 years ago.

  • -6

    Speed

    This "recent summers are different" fear mongering is getting annoying. Summers are like they've always been. The media is hyping up the global warming angle because it sells.

    Granted we've had some long heat waves these past few years but they used to say the same things when I was a kid when these kind of things used to happen.

    I agree with gajintraveller above, learn to enjoy the summer. I say get out of the office, go to parks, the beach, pool, drink beers and refreshments, nighttime beer gardens, wear Cuban shirts sit in the shade and watch the pretty girls go by.

  • 7

    FizzBit

    Does anyone feel this years rainy season is a little different? Sure the was less rain, but I've never expeirenced such cool nights and mornings here before in July. Except for Tokyo and Osaka (I don't live there) that have the urban heat effect, temperatures are lower than normal, in my opinion.

    This could be one explanation.

    This video alleges that the (magnetic) North Pole will soon be in Siberia at this rate. The video blogger says his calculations have shown it moving 161 miles in the last 6 months, a mile a day toward the south.

    http://www.science20.com/cool-links/pinpoint_accuracy_says_north_pole_will_soon_be_40_degrees_south_equator-114012

  • 3

    movieguy

    "... Becoming Intolerable???" My 20 summers in Japan have always been miserable and @theResident, where in Japan do you live? I live in Tokyo and there is no measurable about of snow or cold temperatures to be considered winter. There's no such thing as frostbite in Kanto and people could never die from being exposed to a Tokyo "winter" and if there was snow on the ground that lasted past noon after the one or MAYBE two days of flurries that happen to drop in January I might consider it real snow, but the Kanto region does not have a "defined" winter. People from Hokkaido would laugh and walk around in T-shirts in a Kanto area "winter." I've never worn a coat in a Tokyo "winter." As for summer, even in the shade you can't hide from the Tokyo humidity. The only thing that makes summers in Tokyo bearable are the women in short skirts, shorts and trips to the beach to see more women in bikinis.

  • 2

    theResident

    @movieguy: Ay what point did I ever mention snow or cold temperatures??? I said we he do have 4 very clear defined seasons, yes, in Tokyo. I do not wear a heavy coat in the winter, but the temperature in January and February is significantly lower.

  • 8

    zichi

    Can't say I have noticed any difference. They are alway hot, alway humid and coming from 59 degrees north, always uncomfortable. But at least we live in a place with less concrete, high mountains behind the house, and enough days with good wind. Always open all the windows so we can have the wind pass straight through. The same mountains keep the snow away during the winter. Most years nothing. The beach is about a 30 minute bus/train ride for about ¥500 one way.

    Would never live in a major city again, like Tokyo/Osaka.

    Still I'm watching a report on the temperature at Death Valley in the U.S. wow! 127 deg F/50 deg C. Guess I would never live there too, but probably dry heat. Its the humidity I hate. Go out with at least two dry t-shirts in my non-man bag.

  • 6

    Onniyama

    sangetsu03. I think that Dr. Jones had better consult with some other organizations (for example, NASA). http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2011-temps.html

  • 13

    Spanki

    Plant more trees along the streets and let them grow so they give a bit of shade. Whenever they demolish and old building here, all the old foliage and trees go with it and very little gets replanted. In most places where I do see tree lined streets here, the trees are cut back so much there's hardly any green on them!

  • 6

    tkoind2

    Repeat after me: (insert hypnotic voice tone) There is no such thing as global warming. It is not as hot as you think it is. Summer is short and beautiful, you will miss it when fall comes. Rabid liberals are lying to you about warming, rising temperatures are your imagination. Turn off the aircon it is nice and cool at 40C.

    With the entire world reporting rising temperatures and heat issues, the fact that some zombies still believe that warming is imaginary should come and spend an air-condition-less summer in lovely sunny Tokyo. And work in normal business clothes to boot.

    It took ages to convince the masses that the world was not flat. Seems it may take a similarly long time for the neo-flat earthers to realize that we are in trouble on climate change.

  • 1

    papigiulio

    Sometimes its unbearable hot, but I still prefer the summer over the winter anyday. The winters are just too cold for my liking.

    Btw I have to say that this years rainyseason is great, we have had only a few days of rain and lots of good weather.

  • 5

    papasmurfinjapan

    Summer in Japan is perfectly tolerable if you have some beer.

  • 6

    rickyvee

    @tkoind

    i don't think many people are denying global warming anymore. what they are disagreeing upon is whether it's manmade or a natural cycle of warming. at least this is the case in the US.

  • 9

    tkoind2

    rickyvee. The key with that issue is that it makes sense to take precautions in either case. If we are causing this, then a change in behavior will help. If we are not causing it, a change in behavior still helps on so many other levels. It really should be a no brainer decision to err on the side of caution here. But clearly to many people are refusing to see the wisdom in doing so.

  • -1

    pointofview

    Global warming is quite natural. Haved a chat with the Sun.

    No factories or cars a thousand years ago.

  • 7

    Steve Fabricant

    @sangetsu03: Yeah, and the "bigger fish to fry" will be in your lap soon if you live in a low-lying part of the world. At least you'll have petroleum fuels to fry them with.

  • 16

    cleo

    Summers are like they've always been.

    The first time I came to Japan was in July/August nearly 40 years ago, and people were, OMG It's so hot, it's 30 degrees! Nowadays a summer day where the temperature is only 30 degrees is a welcome respite. It certainly has got hotter, a lot hotter.

    A dry rainy season by the way, is not 'great' - look forward to water shortages later in the year.

  • 5

    ReformedBasher

    Go for a walk in the evening. Night is the best time of day. Early morning is quite cool too.

    Sensu (folding fan) is good to take too. Drinks lots of fluids, alcoholic or otherwise.

  • 17

    zichi

    Ban the internal combustion engine from all inner city areas. Dig up many of the roads and make them green walkways. Buses, taxis and delivery trucks running on green energy.Hire system of small cars running on green energy especially compressed air.

  • 13

    JeffLee

    There's not much shade in my concreted Tokyo neighborhood. Mostly blinding light, which radiates nicely off the concrete. Every rainy season, municipal crews cut down much of the shade-producing green vegetation, including hedges, bushes, branches on trees along the streets, in an act of defiance against nature.

    A couple of greenish parks have also basically disappeared recently, replaced with gray concrete squares where kids are supposed to play on. "Grass is dirty," a neighbor once explained to me. The kids don't play there much anyway because it's such a hard and dull environment. No wonder the summer heat is getting worse: the heat island effect is the result of these deliberate and extensive efforts.

  • 7

    sf2k

    so why are kids forced to play sports in such hot weather?

  • 1

    AKBfan

    Offices and shops and buildings not having aircon running at 24 or below is awful.

  • -2

    pizzatime

    Japan needs to end that "cool biz" crap. It is ok to work with no ties or suits. But they also need to blast the air conditioner. Air conditioner: a basic need.

  • 9

    zurcronium

    The clueless posters who continue to deny science are really amazing. It is an American phenomenon really as the rest of the world gets it. Along with 97% of scientists and thousands of studies on the matter. The fact is every year the cherry blossoms come earlier. Japan along with the rest of the world is warming at rates that cannot be explained by random weather patterns. The coal industry and Exxon are fighting a vile PR war to preserve their profits, at the expense of the humanity. It is shameful that the flat earth society can get people to join despite the science of global warming, in fact cheering on their own suffering.

  • 6

    Ayesha

    I like it in the season when women wear shorter skits and more open tops.

  • -3

    psychopathsareincontrol

    before the urban heat island effect

    This is the real problem. Don't invoke Global Warming just to get attention to you boring article.

    Now, when winter comes along - will you also write about record snowfalls in the rest of the northern hemisphere??

  • 1

    nandakandamanda

    We did have a hot week last month, but the nights are pleasantly cool at the moment. Let's wait and see how this summer turns out to be and enjoy what we have now.

    In the meantime temperatures are said to be rising on Mars. Maybe too many Mars rovers...

  • 2

    zichi

    Today, the local temperature has drooped to 28 from 33 yesterday? Very comfortable today, no need for ac.

  • 5

    Get Real

    Well said, Zurcronium.

    It is not a God-given right to wear a sweater indoors in summer, a tee-shirt in winter, and drive absolutely everywhere in over-sized Tonka Toys that wars must be waged to fuel.

  • 9

    heretoolong

    I don't have a problem with summers in Japan. Granted, it's very hot and humid, but just like it was back home for me before I came here. The hardest thing I have difficulty with is the air-conditioner being set at 28, 29, and 30 degrees. I can't work in an environment like that, and it's obvious that others can't either. I just wish people were more willing to turn it down (and leave it at) something like 25-26 degrees. Summer here is great and I love going to parks and the beach to enjoy it, but lets use the AC a little more!

  • 10

    zichi

    The ac to be effective in an office needs to be set at 25 deg auto, and sometimes 23 deg auto. In large buildings the ac should run overnight to keep the day time temp down. I was an electrical engineer in very large buildings with more than 5,000 workers nearly all with computers. Sometimes, I made individual adjustments to help someone out, too hot or too cold.

  • 6

    budgie

    If people knew how to dress for summer there would be fewer cases of heatstroke. Women of a certain age - okay old bags - go out wrapped in three layers of clothing, a hat, gloves, face mask and have the nerve to complain about the heat. They don't drink cold water (apparently cold drinks give you diarrhea) and think that sucking on a pickle and sipping half a glass of lukewarm green tea is enough to satisfy their daily hydration needs. When the temperature is a balmy 26 they complain of "natsu bate", which apparently is an excuse not to do anything. Of course if they hadn't been so inactive their whole adult lives they might have the metabolism to handle 'extremes' of temperature anyway.

  • 4

    subyyaki

    People are never happy with the weather!

  • -1

    David Elson

    Temperatures here seem lower than normal...

    Must be all the ice melted by GW cooling the earth :D

  • 1

    nandakandamanda

    People talking about going and having picnics in the park, but are there no mozzies near you?

  • 2

    It"S ME

    Lots of good BBQ places to me that have no pools, streams, etc close by and thus no mozzies. And the anti-nozzie spirals been working for decades across the globe. ;)

  • 4

    Nessie

    In a BBC interview with Dr Phil Jones,Director of the Climate Research Center, and key member of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Dr Jones admitted that there HAS BEEN NO INCREASE IN WORLD TEMPERATURES In nearly 15 years. None, nada, zip.

    No, Sangetsu, you're incorrect.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Phil-Jones-says-no-global-warming-since-1995.htm

    A headline in the Daily Mail claims that Phil Jones, ex-director of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, said 'there has been no global warming since 1995'. Not only did Phil Jones not say these words, this interpretation shows a poor understanding of the scientific concepts behind his words. To fully understand what Phil Jones was saying, one needs to read his actual words and understand the science discussed.

  • 2

    ambrosia

    gaijintaveler: Winter is much too cold especially in Japanese housing.

    I don't know what part of Japan you're talking about but it's sure not Tokyo. Any place that has flowers in the winter certainly isn't "much too cold"

    tkoind2: Summer is short and beautiful, you will miss it when fall comes.

    Speak for yourself. I abhor Tokyo summers, find them intolerably long and absolutely never miss them!

    theResident: we have 4 very defined seasons here

    Yeah, sorry but I've never gotten that obsession with Japan having 4 distinct seasons. Coming from a place where we have real, proper winters which can kill you, the winter, at least in Tokyo, is more like a cold fall day to me. If you're counting rainy season than I would agree but no one ever seems to count that as a distinct season so I'm still not buying the whole 4 season business.

  • 2

    Kurobune

    I remember teaching in a junior high school in rural Aichi prefecture about twenty years ago in mid-July, just before the summer break. It was terrible ! About 40 degrees C ! I think of those poor kids every summer !

  • 2

    Elbuda Mexicano

    Beer?? Sorry, only makes this heat WORSE! and the HUMIDITY???? God awful! What Tokyo and all major cities in Japan need is a new LAW, if it is over 20 degrees centigrade, time for all our young ladies to break out their mini skirts and lighter, thinner clothing, see through cotton, linen etc..now?? Stupid women wearing clothes black, thick like if were a FUNERAL in the middle of winter??? Time for Japan to learn from hot, humid countries like BRAZIL what and who should be wearing less to help COOL Biz wear and I guess a few beers help us all relax??

  • 1

    Tom DeMicke

    Want to cool down? Fly down here to Okinawa! Yes, you might think I'm crazy but everyone please watch the weather on a daily basis this summer. As soon as the rainy season is over, you will see that Hokkaido and Okinawa will come in with the coolest temperatures of the summer. I've lived here 19 years and it is always the second coolest spot in Japan. Here in Okinawa you rarely see temps exceed 33 C which might occur this week, but temps in Nagoya (notoriously the hot spot of Japan) will soon see temps nearing 37 C on a near-regular basis. We have humidity too but during the hottest part of the day, the humidity can drop as low as 50 or 60% which is not bad at all. We also have a nice breeze throughout the day and sometimes evenings too. Love it here...will be transiting the Tokyo area on my way to southeast asia later this month and am not looking forward to the very hot temps in Tokyo. Happy summer everyone!

  • -1

    Fox Cloud Lelean

    The weather doesn't sound so bad. Here in Britain I've had to put up with temperatures as high as 37 Celsius, roughly the temperature of the human body. Even then I could cope, opening windows and using a fan, even a battery operated one if using a hand fan is too much. I would probably enjoy the other seasons in Japan more. I don't really notic the cold that much, so winter would work out well for me, and I also enjoy the rain. Summer's my least favourite season, but I can still cope with the heat quite well.

  • 6

    FightingViking

    We've always had 4 seasons in Europe - what I don't understand is why the Japanese seem to think they're "unique" with their 4 ? - don't they mean "5" seasons ? (Although this year, it hasn't been too rainy, that is a 5th season).

  • 2

    Seawolf

    Tom DeMicke - actually you don't have to spend that much money and time. Just hop on a Shinkansen and voila 70 min later you are in cool Karuizawa. Personally, beside that one week in June it doesn't feel like summer yet at all up here, day time highs won't go above 25, mostly lower, at night it cools down to about 14 degrees. I'm working local, so I have no idea, has been 4 years since we moved, but my wife is still working in Tokyo and I think it must be awful to go to the station with a fresh morning breeze and the very moment the doors open in Tokyo the air smells dirty, hot, and humid.

  • 9

    lucabrasi

    Here in Britain I've had to put up with temperatures as high as 37 Celsius,

    Bloody hell, Fox, what part of Britain do you live in? Madrid?

  • 1

    Thunderbird2

    The weather doesn't sound so bad. Here in Britain I've had to put up with temperatures as high as 37 Celsius, roughly the temperature of the human body. Even then I could cope, opening windows and using a fan, even a battery operated one if using a hand fan is too much.

    Eh? Where in the UK are you to get temperatures like that? Last time I saw temps like that here was the mid 70s!

    Back to Japan, and I've never been there in summer, but plenty of times in May, and the temperatures then are regularly in the high 20s, which is very warm for someone coming from Scotland. My Japanese friends ALL complain about the humidity and heat of a Japanese summer... it would probably melt my brain.

  • 2

    Star-viking

    Summers have gotten longer in the time I've been here, and spring and autumn shorter. Some years autumn is a blink and you'd miss it event. The wife says that 30 years ago summer solidly ended in mid-August, and even then 30 degrees was the most you'd see in a summer, for a few days. Now the heat and humidity drags on until mid-September, and 30 degree days are a respite from 35+ days for weeks on end.

  • 0

    Cos

    This year is relatively cool in Osaka. Not a hot day yet this year (not my impression, that's what the thermometer and hygrometer say).

    Except for Tokyo and Osaka (I don't live there) that have the urban heat effect, temperatures are lower than normal, in my opinion.

    I don't have nor need air-conditioning, This week I close them at night. On hot years, like 2010, I had let them open non-stop from mid-May. I am not a masochist, the air passes greatly in my building, and orientation (South East) is optimal. Most offices need air-con year round as they were designed counting on it.

    The ac to be effective in an office needs to be set at 25 deg auto, and sometimes 23 deg auto.

    That was 30 years ago. There exist better new generation air-con and the offices that don't get them yet should change and they would save on energy consumption to finance the upgrade. Now you set 28 degrees + humidity control, and you get that in the room 5 minutes later, they even switch automatically the restart if more people enter the room, no dryness, no condensation.

    . It certainly has got hotter, a lot hotter.

    From recorded temperatures, not more than 1.5 degree of variation since the late 1800's. But you are 40 yr older.

    The fact is every year the cherry blossoms come earlier.

    Since I have been born, in Osaka, they always bloom at my birthday 1 week earlier or later. Dates have been recorded too since Yedo Jidai. That doesn't mean we don't have worrying climate and ecologic changes, we do, but not those people say.

  • 2

    yourock

    I hate the humidity the most. Amazingly, my students say they're cold when I use the ac in the classroom. It's set to 24-26 degrees. I will never understand. As for water shortages people write about, in Kyushu we have had plenty of rain. No fears here. Elsewhere though I don't know. A cold beer at the end of the day is definitely on my agenda now.

  • 0

    LiveInTokyo

    I talked my boss into allowing the males in the company to wear shorts during the summer months, as the women were always allowed to wear what they liked. Since we've been in shorts, summer is a real pleasure to work in. I love winter to be honest, but I guess that was always as I had to wear slacks and a tie during the summer months, due to company rules. Since getting rid of that tie and those slacks ... absolutely nothing to complain about.

  • 0

    Serrano

    "Ban the internal combustion engine from all inner city areas"

    What! If that happens, how am I supposed to get my choco eclair at Lawson, or my beer at the supermarket with all the shelves empty?

  • 2

    wipeout

    The wife says that 30 years ago summer solidly ended in mid-August, and even then 30 degrees was the most you'd see in a summer, for a few days. Now the heat and humidity drags on until mid-September, and 30 degree days are a respite from 35+ days for weeks on end.

    I don't know where she's referring to in Japan, but more than 25 years ago, I can remember that high summer in Kansai meant daytime highs well over 30 degrees and often reaching 34 or 35.

    You can check historical temperatures here. I looked at July 1963, and count 18 days over 30 degrees in Tokyo. 21 in August (including one day of 37 degrees), and 3 in September. The following year there were 7 in September.

    http://www.tutiempo.net/en/Climate/Tokyo/07-1963/476620.htm

    This is August 1953, where the temp reached 38 one day:

    http://www.tutiempo.net/en/Climate/Tokyo/08-1953/476620.htm

  • -2

    Gaijin Desi

    Its not that summer is very hot in Japan, but people here used to air-conditioning to such a extend that they loose their natural power to resist summer heat. its better if Govt. starts a power cut regularly in afternoon at least for 2 hours so that peoples prepare themselves for summer heat.

  • 3

    BurakuminDes

    Ah...summer in Japan. Salarymen in full suits; kids on forced PE runs in 36 degree blazing sun with no caps or sunscreen; 70-year-old - ladies holding umbrellas with full-length gloves, bizarrely worrying about skin damage.

    T-shirts, shorts...and cold, cold beers at the end of the day. I LOVE summer in Japan !

  • 4

    Thunderbird2

    Love how the people from outside Japan are telling the Japanese to suck it up and enjoy the summer heat and humidity.

  • 5

    Mocheake

    Summer is supposed to be hot and sunny. In Japan, it is intolerable because it's wet, muggy and rainy in the first half. Real summer only lasts about month and a half. I hate summer here because of THAT!

  • -4

    Gaijin Desi

    before starting your air conditioner please remember one thing that all the natural gas reservoir in the world is not meant for Japan only, there are other peoples in the world who also need it. save energy save life. stop complaining about summer / winter and learn from history how your four-fathers survive.

  • 2

    Lowly

    Head for Hokkaido...

  • 0

    ChibaChick

    budgie - you nailed it! Except there are those of us who are not old bags but still wear a hat and gloves outside because we have inherited crappy British skin and already watched friends and family having various tumours lasered and hacked off over the years! But other than that - spot on!

  • 3

    kurisupisu

    Just take a four week summer holiday in the summer....works for the Germans

  • 3

    Dennis Bauer

    I miss Aomori those summers are bearable, then going to towadako in crystal clear water. The Kobe humidity is killling me!

  • 2

    Get Real

    Just take a four week summer holiday in the summer....works for the Germans

    Great point, Kurispisu.

    Even a mandatory summer fortnight and winter week would work wonders in Japan. Think of the productivity gain, boost to domestic tourism, and opportunity for families to reconnect.

  • 4

    japanisation

    Welcome to hell...I always said that there is no enjoyment at all during summer time in Japan. The comparison to hell is not improper! This is why every year during summer I escape on the Italian Alps...

  • 2

    ares7

    1000 years!? Wow, didn't know they had thermometers back then.

  • 0

    Franck TheGaijin

    To the ladies with umbrella, and those black glove/sleeve thing... You have the privilege to live in a country where you can shop at midnight if you want to. If you wish to live like a vampire, do it fully and stay at home during the day. This way we will not be attacked by your umbrella. Cheers.

    On serious note, yeah summer in Japan is super hot but I assumed it was always liked this. You get used to it somehow. Drink a lot, avoid getting dehydrated and you will be fine.

  • 0

    gaijintraveller

    TheResident, would you care to define those so clearly defined four seasons? There is an autumn, a winter, a spring, a clearly defined (even defined by NHK) rainy season with a beginning and an end and then a summer. To me that is five. It becomes six if you add a typhoon season. I realise that most Japanese have been brainwashed to believe that Japan is a uniquely beautiful and lovely country because it has four seasons, but it is not true.

    If it is neither cold nor raining, there is no reason to complain.

    You are right. I do not live in Hokkaido. I wouldn't want to either. I wouldn't choose to live anywhere covered in snow in winter. Why do you think I would want to copy you and move out of my house, which is well insulated and heated in winter and no longer Japanese style, into a new apartment? Don't you realise that is the reason you are incapable of enjoying the summer. You should move out of your new apartment and into a house with a garden. Then you could enjoy the summer. When you enjoy or do not enjoy your air-conditioned apartment in the summer, I shall enjoy fresh herbs and vegetable from my garden and the sunshine. If I feel like it, I can go to the beach. In the evening, I can eat on my deck, which is screened so mosquitoes are no problem.

    Stop moaning, learn to live and enjoy the summer. And don't give me any of the usual rubbish about changing season if you live in Tokyo. You cannot appreciate changing season when everything is covered in concrete as it is in Tokyo.

  • 2

    lucabrasi

    @Franck

    Drink a lot, avoid getting dehydrated and you will be fine.

    I've heard this advice before, but the more I drink the more dehydrated I get.

    Maybe I should switch to gin .....

  • 0

    Thunderbird2

    On serious note, yeah summer in Japan is super hot but I assumed it was always liked this. You get used to it somehow. Drink a lot, avoid getting dehydrated and you will be fine.

    See my previous comment about all those clever gaijin telling the Japanese how to cope with their own weather. (Sarcasm intended)

  • 4

    The Chronic

    Summer is awesome in Japan: Beer Gardens, Hotties dressed in as little as possible. Gotta love that!

  • 4

    stuarto

    I love summer in Japan too. So many great reasons to, as mentioned above by so many posters.

  • 4

    Elbuda Mexicano

    Stuart Oh means all the lovely ladies who should be dressing in less clothes to do their bit to help Fukushima, Tokyo Electric right mate?? So had a great laugh! Just spit out my beer and my Spanish olives!

    ** Here in Britain I've had to put up with temperatures as high as 37 Celsius,

    Bloody hell, Fox, what part of Britain do you live in? Madrid?THANKS LUCABRASI!! **

  • 3

    shanatc

    Summer in Tokyo so far has been pretty hot. I just moved here from England which didn't even have a summer last year! I haven't had a real summer in 3 years, so this was a bit of an adjustment. I get the four seasons thing, I understand how those who are from colder climates or live in colder climates don't consider the Tokyo winters "real" but this will be the first time in 3 years I can put the winter clothes away. My kids are in short sleeves and shorts everyday, I had to go out and buy more shorts for them and buy more summer appropriate clothes myself. I was so shocked by the heat in May, I actually enjoyed the rainy days because they were cooler. My hometown is similar to Tokyo as far as weather, though it's more suburban. This humidity and heat is a readjustment, but for the live of me I don't think I'll get to the point where I'll wear as many layers as the Japanese women I see. I just don't understand how I'm the only one with one layer and the only one still sweating like crazy.

  • 3

    Michael Alagar

    What's weird is that this summer is surprisingly cool...

  • -5

    hkitagawa

    Electrical bills are too high! Please, let's activate all the power plants for cheap energy :)

  • 2

    Simona Stanzani

    using less air conditioning is actually a good thing because it discharges less hot air outside reducing the city entropy effect. I try to use it as little as possible and when I do I use the "dry" function, it generally does the trick (but windows open are usually enough because our building is in an ideal position for ventilation, too bad it's closing down in Dec) (T_T)

  • 1

    Cos

    I don't think I'll get to the point where I'll wear as many layers as the Japanese women I see. I just don't understand how I'm the only one with one layer and the only one still sweating like crazy.

    So you can understand why they do it. And you prefer sweating with your method. Well, the clothes are surely only a part of equation. I don't see many women with really unadapted clothing. Cooling underwear helps. The dark tights have also a compression role that minimizes the feeling of heavy legs.

    This way we will not be attacked by your umbrella.

    Very spiritual. Do you also make fun of people that don't smoke ? don't do drugs ? don't use condoms to sleep around ? don't drink and eat crap ? The hipster wisdom of exposing to Summer sun gives rates of 20% of people having cancerous skin lesions. In comparison, with Japanese (Chinese, Korean, Islamic...) fashion, it's 0.5 per 100 000 roughly. And no, that's not ethnicity. Ethnic Japanese that live abroad and adopt the suntan habits are getting those rates. And eyesight problems also increase.

    I shall enjoy fresh herbs and vegetable from my garden and the sunshine. If I feel like it, I can go to the beach. In the evening, I can eat on my deck, which is screened so mosquitoes are no problem.

    Same in my flat... minus the screen. The pests don't fly so high.

  • 2

    mito

    Go north, go north. Cool up here in the north.

    BTW, "budgieJUL. 02, 2013 - 12:25PM JST If people knew how to dress for summer there would be fewer cases of heatstroke. Women of a certain age - okay old bags"

    Racism is not okay, sexism is not okay - how about holding off on the ageism.

  • 1

    Fumie Yuhi

    Summers in Japan is becoming intorelable for me who was born in Showa era. When I was a child, it was hot in summer but it's not high as or above our body temperatures. I often suffer from headaches and nausia during summer.

  • -2

    Misaki55

    I think everyone needs to actually read this (and not just look at the graphs) http://www.justfacts.com/globalwarming.asp so they get an actual understanding of "Global Warming" or "Climate Change" and stop throwing around the phrases that media taught them both.

    One of my favorite facts to people who hate the US and begrudge them for not signing on to the Kyoto Protocol.


    • Between 1997 (the year Kyoto was adopted) and 2008 (the start of its compliance period), the combined annual CO2 emissions of the developed countries that ratified the treaty increased by 1.3%. During the same period, the annual CO2 emissions of the United States decreased by 0.7%:

    So the US doesn't join and instead they lower their CO2, why all the other "do-gooders" go up.


    As of August 2011, 9,029 Ph.D. scientists including 3,805 atmospheric, earth, or environmental scientists have signed a petition stating:

    There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth


  • 2

    Ah_so

    Quite intereting. In a BBC interview with Dr Phil Jones,Director of the Climate Research Center, and key member of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Dr Jones admitted that there HAS BEEN NO INCREASE IN WORLD TEMPERATURES In nearly 15 years. None, nada, zip. Not a single one of the outrageously expensive computer climate models funded by the IPCC produced even a remotely accurate prediction. All models predicted hotter weather, which didn't occur.

    You have piqued my interest Sangetsu03. Let's find out what he said in the BBC interview...

    Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

    Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

    So, there has been warming since then, but it is not sufficient to link it as statistically significant. This does not mean that it did not happen or that it is statistically insignificant.

  • -2

    Thunderbird2

    Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

    Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

    That sounds like mince to my layman's ears... total and absolute mince. Mumbo-jumbo and jargon. Or, for the British people here, like Sir Humphrey in "Yes, Minister".

  • 2

    JoeBigs

    Drink lots of water and wear a hat.

  • 1

    Star-viking

    wipeout

    "The wife says that 30 years ago summer solidly ended in mid-August, and even then 30 degrees was the most you'd see in a summer, for a few days. Now the heat and humidity drags on until mid-September, and 30 degree days are a respite from 35+ days for weeks on end."

    I don't know where she's referring to in Japan, but more than 25 years ago, I can remember that high summer in Kansai meant daytime highs well over 30 degrees and often reaching 34 or 35.

    We're in Tohoku. Thanks for the links!

  • 0

    Knox Harrington

    ...we have 4 very defined seasons here...

    Ahh, so you bought into that since you came here, huh? Are you aware of the tsuyu, returning every year at regular intervals is technically comsidered a season. There are not four defined seasons, there are five.

    In any case, summer is why I keep living in Japan. Once you have gitten used to the humidity/heat and slow down you pace a bit, it makes you feel great.

  • 2

    Wolfpack

    Regardless of the recent global warming scaremongering- when has Summer ever not been nearly intolerable in Japan? The problem is bad insulation and the lack of central air conditioning in most Japanese homes. Also the reliance on mass transportation means long walks and wait times on train platforms and at bus stops in stifling heat and humidity. The Japanese have taken this in stride for the most part but it makes for a very unpleasant Summer.

    Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

    In other words, it is as hot now as it has always been.

  • 0

    Marilita Fabie-Fujisawa

    Yap!!!WOLFPACK!

  • 1

    MumbaiRocks!

    Just out surfing yesterday. Japan summers are great for surfing or swimming (be careful!). Still, the best seasons are Spring and Fall. Would help if they would widen the roads and plant more trees on the sides of the roads.

  • 0

    Star-viking

    WolfpackJUL. 08, 2013 - 05:25AM JST

    "Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods."

    In other words, it is as hot now as it has always been.

    Errr...no, .12C per decade.

  • -1

    Wolfpack

    Star-viking Jul. 09, 2013 - 11:18PM JST

    Errr...no, .12C per decade.

    0.12C per decade? You call that significant? Sounds more like natural variation or minor data collection errors. Summers have always been intolerable in Japan - people lose perspective when they only look back 10 years (or even 100 for that matter) and make definitive statements without any perspective on the history of climate in Japan (or any other locale).

  • 0

    Dre Hund

    Heat is energy. Why can't we use it to run fans?

  • 1

    only one

    Is still only July and already thinking "when will this summer end" or "when can I go south for a while- a long way south".

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