With temperatures this year that peaked in the mid-30s, made only worse by Tokyo's hair plastering humidity, there were two major topics that were featured prominently on television: how hot it was and what could be done to beat the heat. Cameras showed long lines of people wearing sandals and cooling themselves down with paper fans as they waited to get their hands on cold treats. In particular, kakigōri — large bowls full of paper-thin slivers of ice with sticky syrup and fresh fruit, the perfect antidote for the summer heat — were a big hit this year.
But as the large parasols and short-sleeved blouses left the streets, so did the long television features on Tokyo's trendiest ice cream or gelato shops.
Although these shops have disappeared from people's minds — at least until next year's unbearably hot summer — they still remain, struggling to find creative ways to bring in at least a fraction of the numbers they saw this summer while consumers forego cold treats in favor of something that will chase away the chill.