Why I Didn’t Stay at Starbucks

This morning we spent time at a new friend’s home who lives nearby- she is our dentist’s receptionist. We are the same age, and quickly became friends during one of my many appointments recently for root canal. The kids played outside in a small pool for about half an hour, but even with water activity it was still way too hot outside.

At the end of August, I will be going to Tokyo for 5 days to teach an intensive D.Min Leadership course. Although I’ve been trying to prepare for it for a year, I’m down to the wire, and needing to spend time each day preparing. Place of choice? Starbucks!
I arrived about 2:30 pm, got my drink, set up my laptop, and began studying. It is a small drive-through Starbucks, and it tends to get a lot of traffic. At one point when I looked up, there were more than 30 people seated, taking up all the small tables in the shop.

After about twenty minutes, I began to feel a little fainty. And I realized – I was HOT. Despite air conditioning being on, the store was sweltering. There were skylight-style windows at the top of the store that didn’t have blinds. I could feel the outside heat just seeping in through the windows. I noticed the older women sipping coffee next to me were fanning themselves. Another couple on the other side said something about the heat and got up and walked out. I began to feel even more weak and warm. I lasted about an hour, and then had to leave.

As I drove home to study in our bedroom with an air-conditioning unit (no central air here!), I noticed that the temperature outside was 40 degrees Celsius. Or 104 degrees Fahrenheit. It has been one of (if not the) hottest summer on record. Even Starbucks can’t cool us down!

There are a number of interesting beliefs in Japan about summer heat. One is that there is an actual illness or summer fatigue that attacks when it gets very hot (I’m beginning to believe this is true, judging by my husband lying on the couch and my own lethargy)…and that air conditioning can be bad for you….and that it isn’t good to drink cold, iced drinks when it’s really hot out.

Here are the results of a Goo survey among young people in Japan related to summer heat:

Q5: Do you get “Natsu-bate” (summer heat fatigue) during the summer? (Sample size=546)

All 10-19 y.o. 20-29 y.o. 30-39 y.o.
Yes 67% 66% 71% 65%
No 33% 34% 29% 35%
Q6: Do you take any measures during the summer heat? (Sample size=546)

Yes (to SQ) 27%
No 73%
Q6SQ: What sort of measures do you take during the summer heat? (Sample size=146, multiple answer)

Eat nutritious food 64%
Don’t spend too long in cold air conditioning 61%
Get enough sleep 55%
Take exercise to nourish my body 43%
Eat hot food, drink hot drinks 30%
Slowly and carefully enter the bathtub 28%
Don’t eat or drink too fast 26%
Other 8%
Don’t know 1%

Q7: When summer comes, what do you particularly want to drink? (Sample size=546, multiple answer)

Barley tea 50%
Carbonated drinks 41%
Sports drinks 33%
Beer, beer-like drinks 26%
Mineral water 19%
Other teas 17%
Fruit juices, fruit drinks 13%
Chuhai (fruity alco-pops) 9%
Tomato or other vegetable juices 5%
Other alcohol 4%
Other 4%
Nothing in particular 6%
Don’t know 0%

Hmm… No one mentioned Frappucinos. Maybe it’s too warm inside…or too air-conditioned…. or maybe the drink is too cold when it’s this hot out…


2 thoughts on “Why I Didn’t Stay at Starbucks

  1. Yes, I believe in “natsubate”! I have it and many church friends are suffering too. The most common cure, drink lots of warm drinks!

  2. I’m not sure if I’ve had natsubate in Japan. The office was always air-conditioned in the summer. 40 C is really hot.
    I heard that eating unagi gives one some extra energy for the hot summer days. Not sure if it really works or not. In China, I think they still drink hot tea (not cold) in the summer.
    The other thing, which may help more of dehydration, is taking salt. Just read the other day in the Asahi on the English website about some lemony salt lozenge(?).
    Some zaru-soba or cold tofu sounds good, too. 🙂

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