Tokyo’s Deadly Heat Wave: The Latest Numbers and Local Tips for Staying Cool

Record-high temperatures are taking their toll on Tokyoites this week. With the peak of summer just beginning, hold tight to that parasol and buckle in for a sweltering, sweaty summer.

Temperatures hit 38 degrees Celsius in central Tokyo on Monday. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, Kumagaya in Saitama recorded temperatures of 41.1 degrees, the highest ever on record in Japan. According to Japan Times reports, at least 77 people have died in Japan due to heat-related illness or exposure since July 9.

It’s Not Just Japan: International Heat Wave

Japan’s heat wave is occurring in conjunction with extreme temperatures experienced across the globe as North America, Europe and Asia have been hit with record-high temperatures this month. Areas of Sweden above the Arctic Circle are witnessing unprecedented forest fires.

The Japan Meteorological Agency also reports that Tokyo’s scorching temperatures will continue for the next two weeks. People are advised to take measures to prevent heatstroke by staying hydrated and using air-conditioners properly.

Tips for Staying Cool

Aside from the obvious – drinking two liters of water per day, avoiding dehydrating alcohol and caffeine, wearing light colors and fabrics – here are a few top tips for beating the heat:

• Follow the example of your neighbors and sprinkle water over your sidewalk to cool the air and tamp down the dust. This is called ichimizu (read more about this tradition here).

• In your home, hang bamboo blinds to provide shade without blocking airflow. If you sleep on a futon, slip a bamboo slat mattress underneath to keep air flowing.

• Instead of turning on the air-conditioner at night and wasting electricity, wear light pajamas and put frozen liquid ice packs under your armpits, the nape of your neck, and in your groin area (since these are the areas that retain the most body heat).

• Eat smaller, lighter portions in more sittings. Somen noodles in cold dipping sauce is popular with locals, as is eel. Rich in vitamins B1 and E, vitamins easily lost through sweating, eel is traditionally eaten during the hottest days of summer.


Main image: Shutterstock

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