Thursday, July 7, 2011

Feeling the heat

So here it is. I'm playing catch- up again. I'll just get right into things.

Rainy season has been pretty light this year, which might sound good to some, but other (such as myself) that just spells bad news. The rain doesn't just bring humidity, mold, and the dreaded ごきぶり (cockroaches), but it cools the otherwise hot summers in Japan. It has been pretty hot here (in the low 90 temps) in Yokohama some days. Doesn't sound so bad compared to the 100+ temps in Texas right now, but they have air conditioning in their buildings. Two little wall fans in each classroom filled with almost 40 students isn't cutting it. In fact, there is a rule at me school that they have to do mandatory tea breaks once durign each class to prevent heat exhaustion. Crazy. This is my first Japanese summer and definitely won't forget it.

The good news! I can wear more casual clothes thanks to the heat and the government's "Cool Biz" campaign. A lot of the teachers come in t-shirts and jeans (though you won't see me doing that). I can also bring a water bottle around the school and connect with other teachers and students by joining in the chants of "熱い” (it's hot!). I also now have this hot pink towel I dampen with water that keeps me cool and gives me bonus points for knowing some common Japanese knowledge of a way to keep cool in the summer. This will be over with soon and I can have cold weather again.

Also connected to the weather is the fact I've had a sunburn for almost two weeks. It sucks. I did, however, learn about buying sunscreen and Aloe in Japan and how vastly different the two products are from their American companions. First, I discovered both are very watery here. Aloe doesn't even come in a gel in Japan. It is more of some green, watery mixture. Sunscreen comes in an aerosol can or in a bottle. Remember those large bottles of sunscreen you can buy in America for around 4$? Think of the travel size of that same sunscreen and that is the normal size of the sunscreen bottles here. The cost runs about the same cost for 1/3 of the size (400¥ to 1000¥ pending on the store and brand). Through experimentation I've discovered the aerosol cans don't work for me. They are a waste of money (hence why I'm burnt). Nivea has become my staple sunscreen. It's not too runny here.

In other not related to summer news, I've started taking basic Japanese classes though Maxceed (Interac). They are every Tuesday night and are progressing quite well. Last week we learned から (from opening)and まで (to closing). After the lesson I made it a goal to try and find the Aloe I needed for my sunburn. The store clerk from Family Mart told me that they didn't have any Aloe, but Create (a drug store up the street) should sell it. Since it was around 9:00pm, I asked what time Create closed. Needless to say, I felt accomplished being able to use the lesson I had just learned less than 30 minutes prior and the store clerk understood me.

Check the next update for my Tokyo trip I took the end of June.

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