In Japan, things are seemingly adjusting to a “new normal.” But whether you’re worried about a resurgence in cases or just surviving Japan’s miserable summer, here’s some handy tech that will be able to help.

Keeping commutes off-peak

In April, “On: Tech” covered how Yahoo! Japan added a crowd radar function to help visualize the degree of human congestion on one of its apps, Yahoo! Map. Although the number of people commuting to the office and school is back on the rise, it’s still important to maintain social distancing. That’s where a new feature on another of its apps, Yahoo! Norikae Annai (Transfer Guide), comes in.

If you search the route you want to travel, a “congestion trend icon” displaying the route’s peak congestion level shows up next to each result; station congestion during transfers is displayed on each route’s detail screen. This way, you can look up which lines and times are likely to be crowded in advance and change your route accordingly. The Yahoo! Norikae Annai app and congestion trend function are both free.

bit.ly/norikaeannai-jp (Japanese only)

No more storage woes

Even if you spent some of your #stayhome time cleaning and tidying your space, it’s still surprisingly easy to forget in which box you’ve stored clothes and other seasonal items. Gadget shop Thanko has released a 49-liter bag with a special QR code-connected zipper that you can use to track the items stored inside.

Using Thanko’s designated QR-scanning app (available for both iOS and Android), you can set a label (e.g. “clothes” or “shoes”) for each bag and record photos and voice data for each item you store inside. When it’s time to unpack, you just scan the QR code on the tag to see what’s inside and make sure you’ve got the right bag. Thanko’s cases are ¥1,580 each or ¥2,880 (both prices after tax) for a set of two.

bit.ly/thankoqr-jp (Japanese only)

Full-function fan

Due to COVID-19, more people than ever are wearing masks when they go outside. However, as the temperature and humidity continue to rise, experts worry that constant mask-wearing will increase the risk of heat-related exhaustion and heatstroke. So this year in particular, we need gadgets to help us cool down.

One particularly useful option is the four-function Anemo Misty Mini from home appliance brand Qurra. You can use it as a cordless fan on your desk, table or bedside; as a humidifier that sprays a fine mist up to 50 milliliters per hour; or as a combination mist-fan. Finally, the fan also detaches from the main body, and is just the right size to fit into a purse or bag if you have to head out into the heat.

Both the fan and the humidifier have customizable options — three strength modes and two pattern modes, respectively — and its 2,000 milliamp-hour battery will go for four to five hours on a full 3½-hour charge (you can also charge the main body and the fan separately via micro USB).

The Anemo Misty Mini comes in white, gray or pink and is available for ¥2,990 (after tax) from various online retailers.

bit.ly/anemomistymini-jp (Japanese only)

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