August is summer vacation for students here in Japan, just in time for the hottest parts of the summer. Most days it's easily been over 100 degrees Fahrenheit with the humidity index. While I would like to think this is almost the same as the summer weather back in southern region of the United States, the huge difference is that here in Japan, they really do not like to use air conditioning.
This seems like something a little bit strange, since Japan is well know for being on the cutting-edge of technology, but most of the rooms and buildings I have entered only have air conditioners in select rooms. While partly, I am sure this is due to the energy crisis here (lots of people, and very little land which can provide the resources to produce electricity) I have also heard many Japanese students say they do not like the air conditioner because it makes them sick... I am sorry, but these people are a little crazy to me. The laboratories are usually kept slightly cooler, to keep equipment cool, but when it's nearly 100 outside and the inside thermostat is set at 80 degrees... I am not feeling too much cooler. But anywhere outside the labs usually has no air conditioner and just has open windows. I prefer being hot to cold, but I know for some people this must be miserable. However, luckily since it's summer vacation time, I can spend more time at home in my nice cool apartment set at 73 degrees.
Sadly, even though I have done some fun things this month, I am afraid I do not have very photos. The most I got was the few I managed to have taken at our end of the year lab party. As usual, there was too much drinking and too much eating done by the lab members. People who on a normal occasion barely speak at all, told me their entire life story at this party. While I think it's always nice to get to know people and have a good time, but 9 p.m. that night most people had almost passed-out and the party started only at 6 p.m. How they got drunk so quickly off of mostly just beer, I will never know. But it does seem like most of them had a good time:
This month I was also hoping to meet a few former Berea exchanged students (Momoyo and Sachi) but with my luck I ended up catching a cold the weekend I was going to go meet them. It was the first time I had a cold in Japan, so I guess I should be grateful it was when there was no classes, but still I felt bad that I didn't get to spend any time with them when they had time off.
The following week, I was feeling better, so my friends and I went to Cost Co. That doesn't seem like much, but it's a day-trip in itself, since it's about an hour away, and always crowded during the weekends. Most of the time I do not need to buy anything in bulk, but it's the only place to get some American-type goods at a cheap price (it's one of the few places you can buy bagels and cheese). I bought mostly food items, but my friends bought lots of different things like cleaning goods, gifts, baked goods, and so on. It was also the first time for my friends husband to eat a hotdog too! That seems strange, from an American perspective, but Cost Co. is one of the few places you can buy hotdogs on a bun with mustard, etc. It's hard to believe something that is considered so cheap and common, could be considered such a treat here in Japan. It's like spam in Korea. I just don't understand why it would be so appealing... but to each their own.
Sadly, the rest of the month doesn't look like there will be much more activity. I am coming to the laboratory daily, and getting ready to do a series of experiments which take between 6-8 hours to complete, so I do not think I will have much time for anything else. However, September looks forward to be a much more promising month, so I will hopefully have a much more interesting post soon!
Everyone take care until then~