Mad dogs and Englishmen

Regular readers may have noticed a dip in output and quality on this blog, and I am acutely aware of this. But this summer is hitting me harder than previous ones. When I first moved to Japan, as a podgy, pasty European, the first summer I experienced here was Hell. It's not just the heat but mostly the humidity. You have a cold shower and by the time you've dried off you're dripping with sweat again. I remember, either my first or second summer here, running for cover from shop to shop, enjoying the cold breeze of the air conditioners in between the hot blasts from the sun outside. I also remember visiting recruiters and going for interviews in my recruit suit with, stupidly, a light blue shirt which would be dark with sweat.

As I lost the inevitable weight so many seem to in Japan, and acclimatised somewhat, the summers became a little more bearable. The key was never to hurry and take things extremely slowly. Plus, of course, as a developer you need not worry about dress codes, so on extremely hot days shorts and sandals would ease the commute.

But for some reason this year I am having a hard time coping. I don't think it's particularly warmer or more humid than previous years, but possibly work related stresses and general malaise contribute to this overwhelming feeling of tiredness, a zombification of the mind and body. Though it is pleasant to sit in the coolness of an air conditioned room, it somehow makes my head heavy and my lungs raspier than usual. Sleeping with the thing on, an absolute necessity, causes restless sleep, for me at least.

It doesn't help that due to some genetic mishap, I think from my mother's side of the family, I have easily excitable sweat glands, though luckily not so much the odour issues that usually come with these. Or rather, the sudden availability of decent deodorants in Japan has helped me combat fishy funk. It all adds up to make the average daytime a dreary, sweaty, heavy headed chore, which makes my evenings lazy and without energy, in front of a fan or underneath the air conditioner. Dog days indeed.

There isn't much going on in Japan, at least not in my monkeysphere. Apparently, in politics, communism seems to enjoy a little resurgence, though I doubt very much your average Japanese cares too much about socialist issues to turn the whole country red, even if the West were to allow it to happen. Personally I am increasingly annoyed by that one bald politician who seems too busy appearing on television shows and generally behaving like a talento than busying himself with whatever it is politicians are supposed to do. I have also been discussing the injustices of Japan's latest scandal, where a professional baseball player had a torrid affair with a mixed race television presenter; the single woman has had all her contracts canceled while the married man with one child is back playing baseball. I wonder if it's because she's a woman or because shes half not-Japanese that the fault seems to have been placed firmly at her feet for some reason. Maybe it's the fact this is the second time she's burnt herself on the same iron. Either way, it's a little silly, not to mention hypocritical of Japan's populace at large; infidelity is next to godliness in the Japanese dictionary, but that may be down to stroke-orders and other obtuse kanji-related issues.

My current choice of summer drink is the Moscow Mule, especially when, as the bartender and customer, I can make them with ever so slightly increasing ratios in favour of the vodka. I do yearn for Pimms though, but this is of course not available in Japan, at least not in the shops I've been searching. I suppose I could make it myself, though, but the ease of the Mule is too much of a draw.

In other news I watched merrily one day as a woman drove her car straight into and up onto the little wall that divides our office building from the parking spaces in front of it. It was quite a wallop and a nasty scrape as she backed up off the wall. She got out, seemingly unharmed and had a perfunctory yet panicky look at the front of the car before doing that half-run jog trot into the building. This further cemented by over-generalised and undeniably racist view that the Japanese aren't very good at driving. I've seen plenty of examples of this before, like the guy who couldn't park his car properly despite the fact he had a good 200 yards of empty sidewalk to play with or the many times I've been almost run over by cars storming out of driveways and side streets.

I literally can't wait for this summer to end, to make way for the much cooler and therefore much more enjoyable autumn, followed by the usual crisp and bright winter, my favourite season. An as usual I am not alone in this. Your average Japanese doesn't seem to fare much better than I, which is some consolation.

Well, this was a long, rambling and self-pitying, not to mention useless post, but that, I'm afraid is what life is like these days. Regular readers can rejoice in the promise I will be posting some things of more substance some time in the near future. I have a few posts in mind, but am as yet unable to bring these to fruition for a variety of reasons, lack of energy being the main culprit, all things considered.

10 comments:

  1. At least you have an air-conditioner in your living space.

    When I was in Japan, I didn't have such luxury. Needless to say, I was for most of the time mostly naked for the exception of shorts(without underwear).

    It may sound crazy but I actually was walking and running around in that heat quite often.

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  2. Oh geez. I've been in Japan from late July/August. I could eat all I want, drink all I want and still lost weight. Getting up and using the bathroom at night was a workout. :X

    I remember feeling violently ill after a day of shopping around Akihabara. All of the stores had their AC cranked to "Antarctic Winter" to compensate for all the visitors and the merchandise causing heat.

    Swapping between temperatures every 40 minutes or so just messes with your system and it ends up being really disorienting!

    Stay cool, Obon is just around the corner.

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  3. The heat isn't actually bothering me all that much, but I'm sure as hell sweating a lot this year. I was just looking for a new apartment and wanted to check out a few places in a suburb out of the city centre which is about 30 minutes by bike... if you go fast (and there is a hill in the way). Needless to say, when I arrived at the estate agents, I was covered with sweat. I never really notice the sweat when I'm riding around on my bike, but as soon as I stop and go into a building my body tries to compensate for all the sweat it seemingly forgot to extrete. I needed a towel and was constantly wiping long dripping beads of sweat off my head and arms whilst talking to the estate agent. It's a bit embarrassing being a sweaty bastard sometimes, but if you dress the part, people will just think you've been working out and are cool and athletic ;)

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  4. Sadly, no matter what cunning disguise I wear I will never be mistaken for someone who's been working out, athletic or cool. :(

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  5. Take your time & relax, my friend :)

    R.

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