• Tokyo


Regarding Amy Chavez’s July 24 column, “The art of sweating in Japan“: In case Chavez hasn’t noticed, the Japanese pride themselves on being different. A more visible feature is the hair — a relative lack of the need to shave for men and strands of side hair to look like sideburns. The same genetic difference affects the sweat glands. They do sweat buckets — just look at the back of salarymen’s shirts — but they don’t smell (to the same extent).

Sadly some Japanese have “discovered” perfumed deodorants and body sprays, and there’s nothing worse in a crowded office with only minimal airflow. Most “perfumes” have dozens of chemicals that can contribute to diseases of the immune system. It’s better just to use an unperfumed deodorant.

Salarymen are welded into a suit at birth; without one, they think they won’t fit in. Appearance is everything. So they sweat down the side of their head while sitting impassively in a meeting room set at a temperature of 28 C because they’re being “eco-minded”! No — they just like suffering.

At home, some have their air conditioners set at 24 C or lower in summer; whereas in winter they heat their home to 28 C! I hate winter here when taxis, subways, trains — especially the Shinkansen — and coffee shops are heated to the melting point of lead! As for women, many do wear skimpy clothes, and then put a blanket over their knees and a shawl over their shoulders. It seems they can’t abide any draft.

I have come to the conclusion that the Japanese don’t like change, including change in temperature.

mike williams

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