Feeling hot, hot, hot? Summer in Japan can get pretty sweaty for those of us Westerners who are used to milder climates. But never fear! Your local ￥100 shop will be stocked full of gadgets and devices to keep you cool this summer. Major brand Daiso is one of the best places to get your hands on these useful items.
This is a top item for getting through the summer! At only ￥300 this item is a total bargain – just plug it into a USB port, turn it on and hey presto, instant breeze. I was pleasantly surprised by how quiet the fan is and also the fact that the angle of the breeze is maneuverable. Perfect for cooling you down if you’re spending long periods of time sat at your computer and don’t want the hassle of having the A.C running.
This item is a little disappointing – firstly, it is a bit noisier than I was hoping, and also easily becomes ineffective. The blades of the fan are made from plastic which fold down when you put the cap on, but what this means is that sometimes the blades slip down in their slots so that the next time you use them, they aren’t throwing out a breeze at the same standard as before and have to be pulled back into place to be at the right angle. However, they are pretty nifty to have around especially if you’re buying for a child – the funky colours and handy neck strap make them a great one for kids in the summer.
Wearable ice-packs – yes, it’s a thing! Not the height of fashion, I’ll admit, but great for a quick cool-me-down if the weather is getting unbearable. This version came with a fluffy cover to put the ice-pack inside. Just freeze the ice-pack and you’re ready to go! Make sure that the ice-pack isn’t all squished up when you put it in the freezer – if the little segments aren’t even and flat then they will freeze in an unusual shape and not slip nicely into the cover. Perfect for post-onsen relaxation and for soothing headaches.
I recently invested in one of these larger ice-packs and was mightily impressed with the difference it makes in having a bigger size. This one requires 6 hours in the freezer and has a usage time of about 15-20 minutes. Mainly they are targeted at sports injuries and the like but can also be used just for cooling down. One neat idea is to wrap your pyjamas up in one of these for 30 minutes before you go to bed – how nice it is to slip into a cool pair of pyjamas when the night is hot and stuffy.
Who doesn’t like an ice-cream or ice lolly in the summer? Purchase one of these ice lolly making kits and you can craft your own delicious sweet treats to enjoy at home. Just fill them up with juice, smoothie mix or whatever else you fancy and wait a few hours for them to set. Handy hint: don’t get over-excited and fill them right up to the top – the liquid will expand as it freezes and if it is too full it will result in a big, frozen mess – trust me on this one!
Another one that is a bit disappointing – this is a spray which you are supposed to put on your clothes to cool you down. Sounds simple enough, but it doesn’t really work. Or at least, it cools you down a little bit in the area that you are spraying, but 3 seconds later you’re pretty much back to your normal sticky, sweaty self. I can imagine that if you were going hiking or spending time on the beach then this momentary icy relief would be quite nice, but for day to day use, it isn’t really worth the bother.
Japanese people (particularly women) have one of these stuffed into their pockets the whole year round – they use them for hand-drying when public toilets don’t have paper towels or dryers. In the summer one of these is indispensable – when it starts getting beyond 30° and your face is constantly dripping with sweat, having a pocket towel to hand is great for mopping up perspiration. They come in all different sizes but I recommend the smaller ones as they fit in your pocket easier and also they wash (and dry) quicker for reuse!
It may sound obvious, but if you traveled to Japan during the winter you might not have thought to bring one with you. Daiso has a great range of men’s, women’s and children’s headwear from casual baseball caps to ‘actress style’ straw hats. There are styles and prices to suit everyone.
It’s hot! But summer in Japan doesn’t need to be a trial – just get your hands on one of these awesome cooling items. From as little as ￥100 you can take it easy with an easy-peasy breezy gadget.