Sunday, June 28, 2009


A squad of foreign journalists comes to Japan for a ten-day exercise in journalism wearing suits and ties - during rainy season of all things (Japan-clueless journalists are sent to report on Japan?) - and at least one of them complains that the Tokyo office buildings are too hot. "Shuttling about the city, I thought I had discovered an epidemic of air-conditioning malfunction... We visited Koike in her (boiling) district office..."

This journodiscomfiture is found to be due to the Japanese government's Cool Biz program (started 2005, news to the J-journo!) (A major world government taking immediate personal-level steps to effect ecochange!? What will they think of next?), which encourages no-tie, short-sleeve office work in summer (opposite with Warm Biz in winter). I for one have been bitching and moaning for years about boiling trains and offices in winter and freezing same in summer. To me, Cool/Warm Biz is a welcome physical change, apart from the massive savings on resources and the handy carbon footprint ecospin. (News tip: in summer, hand-fans are also functional and convenient low-tech items much used in Japan.)

Likely the journalists' rushing around in suits and ties had much to do with it, but more likely it's their decades of working and living year-round in controlled air, which has screwed up their biothermostats. It's odd, though, that the journo makes no reference to the body's remarkable powers of temperature adjustment, because from out of history that very body got us all here, through all those way up and down temperatures, without relying on public utilities. A fact that Japanese office workers are perhaps on the way to relearning.

Try the body. It works. Now that might be news.

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Tabor said...

I have been cranking down the air conditioning to assuage the shock when I leave the house in late June and this morning it was cooler on my deck outside than in the house...!

R. Brady said...

Closer and closer to actuality...!