With the peak of summer just beginning, hold tight to that parasol and buckle in for a sweltering, sweaty summer following a later-than-usual rainy season.

Temperatures hit 35 degrees Celsius in central Tokyo on Tuesday, causing the Japan Meteorological Agency to issue a weather advisory for extreme high weather. Kumagaya in Saitama recorded temperatures of 36.8 degrees, below last year’s Japan-record-high 41.1 degrees. Japan’s highest temperature was 37.1 degrees recorded in Tajimi in Gifu Prefecture.

Last week 11 people died in Japan, including a 28-year-old performer at an Osaka amusement park, and 5,664 people (299 in Tokyo) were taken to hospital due to heat-related illness.

It’s Not Just Japan: International Heat Wave

Japan’s heat wave is occurring in conjunction with extreme temperatures experienced across the globe as Europe has been hit with record-high temperatures this month. Paris recorded a record-high temp of 42.5 degrees, while Netherlands and Germany saw all-time highs of 40.7 and 41.5 degrees, respectively.

Tips for Staying Cool

The Japan Meteorological Agency also reports that Tokyo’s temperatures will return to normal by next week, hovering in the 31 to 32 degrees range. Still, people are advised to take measures to prevent heatstroke by staying hydrated and using air-conditioners properly.

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 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 uchimizu (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 strategically place frozen liquid ice packs throughout your sleeping area.

• 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.


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