Cooling Off

Last Thursday the temperature reached 38°C (100° F) here as a high pressure area lingered off shore of the Kanto region. During the previous week, over seven thousand people suffered heat stroke in Japan and a few died. Earlier in the month, former Japan international soccer player Naoki Matsuda died, at age 34, two days after suffering a cardiac arrest during training.

One 75 year old man died as he was waiting for an electrician to install an air conditioner in his apartment scheduled for the following day. Not having air conditioning or even a fan, he had suffered heat stroke events in previous years and had decided to do something about it. A day late.

We don't use air conditioning, but have plenty of electric fans. We just stayed indoors with windows shaded by awnings and fans blowing - reading, taking naps, and sipping cold mugicha (roasted barley tea). A tenugui (printed cotton towel) helped to mop our brows - or sometimes we wore one with a cold pack in the folds.

Me wearing a tenugui at Lake Ashinoko in 2007. That's Mt. Fuji that you don't see in the background. If you want to see it, visit this post: Pirates of Ashinoko

Since it was cooler on the patio than in the house, Momo slept under the bench on the front porch which has been cloaked in sun tarps that cut the temperature considerably. I also cool it by wetting down the ground in front of it using a sprinkler. At times, she even has a fan to move the air out there.

Meanwhile, at the zoo, a distant cousin, an orangutan, had a similar strategy. We've never visited Tama Zoo, but we hear it is great, with animals exhibited in natural habitats...

"Laugh with glee at a chimpanzee, he reminds you of someone in your family" - lyrics from "Never Smile at a Crocodile" ~ Disney's Peter Pan (1953).

The weather changed drastically on Friday, with rain bringing much lower temperatures 22° C (71.6 F). Quite a drop! Momo, with her summer cut, found it a bit too chilly for her, and spent today in her indoor cage.

The coming week will see slightly higher temperatures , but cloudy weather will keep it reasonably comfortable (29° C).

We have another trip coming up - heading north on the newest Shinkansen train (the only way to fly) for a couple of days in the Tohoku region - yes, the area worst hit by the Great Earthquake and Tsunami of 3/11. Stay tuned...


BearBear said...

Enjoy your trip and be safe!

Xiao Bai said Hello to Momo. Let's stay healthy for many more years Momo!

Lrong said...

We don't use air con too... luckily we do not get too much heat from the concrete buildings as we are in the outskirts...

HappySurfer said...

Such an amusing post! That orangutan is too cute. I'll have to borrow that video. May I?

It's hot here too and to make it worse, the haze is back and air quality is dipping. The smell of bbq is in the air, but without the chicken wings, etc.

Enjoy the trip. Is there no concern about the radiation? Please shed some light.

Pandabonium said...

Bear Bear, so nice to see you posting on your blog again!

Lrong, I can't imagine dealing with the heat in the cities.

Happy - be my guest on the video, not my creation. Sorry that Kuala Lumpur is "smoggy" and hot. All those cars and trucks you know.

I'll post about the trip soon and will include a map showing the nuclear accident plant location. We were very safe, thanks.