It was in early June that I was so excited to explore more into the woods of Okutama around noon, and my body started to sweat like a rainfall (yes it sounds unpleasant and distasteful, and I truly apologize for writing this). The heat was immeasurably high that I needed to consume way more water than usual or had to plunge into a cold pool full of ice cubes. Also, wearing a shirt and short could be a bad idea that I would get sunburned on my face, neck, arms, and legs even with sunscreen. And wearing a long-sleeve shirt and a pair of pants could be worse that I could feel the heat inside even if it meant to cover and protect my body from sun. It was a lose-lose situation. So, I gave up and let alone the nature.
At home, I felt like entering another section of hell. The air conditioner (AC) in my bedroom was broken so I had to wait for a technician to repair it next week. That was a bad luck. Desperately in need of cold, I opened my freezer in my fridge, took and ate four ice creams (it began to melt shortly after I took it off from the freezer), and stood in front of the open freezer for about half an hour to refresh myself from heat — I took a cold shower and it did make a tiny difference. That was my best solution to overcoming the heat problem. It is all due to the intense summer and humidity in Japan. I can’t blame nature after all.
I am still accustomed to the weather back in my hometown San Francisco, where “winter is not that cold and summer is not that hot” like most people from San Francisco would have said. Therefore, it was such a temperature shock that I merely exposed myself with too much heat that I am still not used to it up until now. Unlike Summer in San Francisco where the hottest temperature could reach ~73 degrees Fahrenheit and for some weird reason it could be our winter, Japan could be much harsher than San Francisco with ~90 degrees Fahrenheit, which is more than hot for me personally since I like cold better. Sometimes, staying in your bedroom with the AC on can be the best feeling ever. At the end, I need a good luck charm with paying the bills.
If you are to study abroad in Japan only for Spring semester (from early April to early August), it is my advice to leave most of your warm clothes behind your closet as it would not be as useful as you might think — unless you are studying for a year that includes Spring and Fall semester or you are planning to hike high-altitude mountains like Mount Fuji, then take some of it with you. Instead, light clothes (T-shirts, shorts, etc.) and hats are sufficient to help yourself balancing with the high temperature in Japan during Summer.
At the same time, however, Summer time is rainy time in Japan as well, especially in July. Therefore, having a rain gear or carrying an umbrella in your suitcase should be sufficient to protect yourself against the raindrops.
Just for your information: when it is hot in Japan, say “hello” to the wild bugs. Bugs love summer as much as we humans do. Mosquitoes, cockroaches, and cicadas (my favorite) are commonly visible and ready to spend their vacation after long hours of work. They love coming in your bedroom at nighttime.
Drink a lot of waters and stay hydrated.
Photographs: Immanuel A. M. Sinambela
*these photographs [kind of] have something to do with the content above. It is also for decoration purpose.