In my previous post I said I had a “whole lotta love” for Japan, which is true. But one element of my life here that I don’t got a whole lotta love for, is sitting in the staff room, when it’s 32C, and 95% humidity, in my shirt and smart trousers.
My shirt is stuck to my back, my worksheets stick to my arms when I lean on them, and I'm thankfully not even a big sweater. I really feel for the heavyweight perspirators at this time of year...
Right now the weather here is not only hot hot heat, it’s hyper humid, and this is the problem. It’s fine when you’re in a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops, but the thick, still air offers no hope of a breeze, and it has a terrible effect on the uniformed clad students and teachers alike.
Like a bee keeper’s soporific smoke that calms his swarm, the humid air sends everyone into a docile stupor. No one wants to be sitting in a horrible, hot, humid classroom. Me included. I counted 7 students asleep on their desk in my class yesterday – but did the teacher do or say a thing? Negative.
I feel sorry for the kids – none of the classrooms even have air conditioning, but at least the teachers room is equipped with a unit, though it’s yet to be activated. And that’s what really pisses me off. The fact that a quick flick of a switch would put an end to everyone's pain. Instead of walking around saying “Atsui, Atsui! It’s hot!” all the time, why the f**k won’t they turn just turn on the AC?
Everyone is suffering, motivation to do anything is rock bottom, yet they still insist on the pointless notion of gamaning (enduring) - the unpleasant conditions, when there’s simply no need.
It’s one of the oddities I discovered here, in that often the environment seems to be ignored, in favour of certain rigid rules. The same thing happens in winter – they won’t turn the heating on until a certain date, even if there’s snow on the ground outside and people are wearing hats and gloves indoors – because it states in the school rules that it must not be switched on until [insert random date that bears no connection to the actual weather here].
I’ve got this crazy idea that I think might just be the answer to everybody's suffering – how about when we’re too cold, we turn the heating on, and when we’re too hot, we turn the a.c. on– yes – I know it’s a lot to get your head round, but have a think about it...
I’ve already documented the terribly designed buildings here that seem as if no thought has gone into them. This is the type of conversation I think must take place during the planning stages of any building in Japan.
Japanese Architect 1: “Our country is sub-zero all winter and plus 30C all summer, how shall we design our buildings to cope with our harsh and extreme environment”.
Japanese Architect 2: “This is indeed quite a problem, but do not fear, for I have found a solution. Let us build our houses and schools with no double glazing, no insulation of any kind, and no central heating.”
Japanese Architect 1: “Yes. This truly is the best way to ensure the comfort of our people.”
I love you Japan, but you’ve still got a few problems you need to work through.