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Japan Journal Pt. IV: Rising Temperatures in Tokyo

Mackenzie Fuller
August 7, 2023

My time in Tokyo has been a hot one, with temperatures in the high 90s (tomorrow’s scheduled to be 102°F!). Hot weather and I don’t see eye to eye. Ever since I was little, I’ve been prone to heat sickness. Traveling during the summer doesn’t help, since I’m spending most of the day outside. So, coming to Japan, one of my initial worries was that I’d get sick from walking around in a hot and humid environment. 

However, I’m only in Tokyo for a week and want to see as much of this expansive city as possible! I’ve been trying my best to explore outside, but not too much to the point where I feel overheated. I thought I’d share some things I’ve been doing to keep cool in this record-breaking heat! 


Museum visits

On my first day in Tokyo, I was not prepared for the heat that would hit as soon as I walked off the Shinkansen. Sendai and Rikuzentakata (the two places we stayed in prior to Tokyo) are further north and by the ocean, so not as hot and with an occasional ocean breeze to cool us off. That first day, I ventured to a museum to escape the heat. A friend and I went to the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, where they were having an exhibition on Matisse. The exhibit was in both Japanese and English, so we were able to read all the signs detailing the artwork. The exhibition spanned multiple floors; as soon as you finished one room, you’d be led to an escalator with even more paintings, sketches, and sculptures on the next floor. While the art was cool, the A.C. was even cooler! 

Large Red Interior, 1948


Vending machine stops

Vending machines are ubiquitous in Japan, with over 4 million of them located throughout the country. There are vending machines for everything, from food to clothes to electronics. But the most common ones have drinks. I’ve been trying to drink as much fluids as possible, and the vending machines have helped me reach my hydration goals. I usually get water and an electrolyte sports drink. Sometimes I just put money in and press a random button and see what drink comes out (a game my professor calls vending machine roulette). In Japan, you’re never too far from a nice cold drink!

Coffee shop runs

I’m currently writing this article in a Tully’s Café (a popular coffee chain in Japan). To escape the heat, it’s always nice to pop into a café, get a cold drink, and sit down in the air conditioning. Going to Tully’s has become an everyday occurrence for my roommate and me. We both love their matachlista (it tastes like a matcha frappuccino and it has chocolate sprinkles on top). We love Tully’s so much, we looked into their U.S. locations and sadly found out they only have three and they’re all located on the West Coast. If I see a Tully’s, I’m stopping in and know I’ll leave feeling refreshed and ready to keep exploring.

Exploring at night

Since nights are significantly cooler than the day, I’ve been trying to stay up later to walk around more and see different parts of the city. Tonight, after the sun sets at 7, the temperature is supposed to get down to a more manageable 87 degrees. Last night, we stumbled upon a cultural festival in a park a few blocks from our hotel. There were lots of families, from grandparents to grandkids, eating, playing, and dancing. Our TA told us it’s common throughout the summer for different neighborhoods to have summer festivals. In the middle of the park were traditional drummers and surrounding them were people dancing to their rhythmic beats. A few of us even joined in dancing and were graciously welcomed by the community. We were even given some paper fans at the festival (which have become an essential item whenever I leave the hotel). This was such a cool cultural experience we just happened to come across. You never know what you’ll find at night! 

When I text my family about how hot it is here, they respond by telling me how hot it is back in Boston. If you’re out traveling or back home, I hope you’re finding ways to stay cool!

Even in the heat, I’ve loved getting to explore Tokyo! I only have four days left here and am looking to make the most out of them. This weekend should be a memorable one! Some of us are going to hike Mount Fuji on Saturday, and on Sunday our dialogue group has tickets to see a professional baseball game. Stay tuned for more Japan Journals!


Japanese Lesson (brought to you by our amazing TAs)

の ど が か わ い た

no    do   ga  ka    wa     i    ta

Nodo ga kawaita

“I’m thirsty”