tokyo roasting

One of the main topics on TV lately (especially the morning news I watch whilst I get ready for work) has been the heat in Tokyo.

It’s hot. Very hot.

Now this is to be expected in a place like Tokyo, but it has to be said that due to all the air conditioners and such, and that there’s so much concrete which likes to radiate heat back out again much more than soil or trees, Tokyo is probably getting hotter [BBC story on that] every year too.

This week in Tokyo, the temperature was measured at 39.5 degrees C [Channel News Asia here] just down the road from my company’s building, and as someone who was walking around in it, let me tell you that I could feel every part of that 39.5. Of course, that doesn’t account for the dirty sauna feel the humidity gives you too, where your clothes never feel dry. Asahi Shinbun also did a bit on it here as did the Mainichi here.

What can be done? That’s difficult to say – certainly making Tokyo a bit greener is essential – Tokyo has parks, but outside of these, there’s very little greenery and Japan has an obsession with concrete. Mayor Ishihara in one of his rare moments of lucidity is trying to offer incentives to plant gardens on top of taller building to try to reduce the heating. The TV also suggested doing more ‘uchimizu’ (the tradition of spilling water outside one’s house or shop) to try to bring the temperature of the concrete radiators down. I say all of the above and more – and ironically, try not to use air conditioners unless you really need to – they generate heat for the outside too.

It’s either that, or time for me to move to Hokkaido…