I get the feeling that when many Singaporeans think about Japan’s weather, they probably think of the following: A cool spring with Sakura blossoms, followed by a warm but not too hot summer, with another cool autumn with falling maple leaves, and the snow covered rooftops in the winter.
That’s only half correct – spring and autumn is accurate but summer and winter is very inaccurate. If you’ve seen photos of Kinkakuji in Kyoto before looking absolutely marvelous capped in white snow, you should know that snow of that degree is so rare in Kyoto that even the locals swarm Kinkakuji to snap photos when it happens. Basically, Japanese winters (unless you’re in Nagano, Tohoku or Hokkaido) are too warm for any large amounts of snow to pile up, though that comes with the very big upside of not having to wear thermals underneath your jeans on a daily basis.
As for summer, well – it just hit 35 degrees yesterday in Tokyo.
So how do the Japanese bear with it?
Well, in summer, you see all kinds of parasols coming out on the streets as well as hand held fans which you can get at a 100 yen shop. Another product you can get in a 100 yen shop to battle the heat is this “cold spray” as shown in the picture (above); which is basically a handy blast of winter for when the heat is threatening to melt you.
The Japanese government – in a bid to drive down air-con costs, is also encouraging both its ministries and businesses to adopt something called “cool business”, which includes some common-sense things like dropping the business jacket and tie though I myself have heard of some businesses allowing business shorts (whatever that is?) being allowed.
So all in all, Japan in July and August really isn’t so different from Singapore. So if you’re coming to Japan in this period, expect to feel very at home – most of the Singaporeans that I know in Japan complain (as we all do) about the heat but we can handle it and survive anyway.
Bet you didn't expect this, did you?
by Austin Zeng