Japanese firms get creative to make the summer no sweat
Sunday 12 June 2011
With the imminent arrival of Japan's notoriously sticky summer months, companies here are scrambling to provide the coolest and most effective ways to keep the heat at bay.
Forecasters say this year is likely to be a particularly hot and humid one, and that will be made worse by restrictions on the use of air conditioning units because of power shortages caused by the destruction of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
In the wake of that disaster, tens of millions of people are looking for the best way to keep cool, with many of the products being released here likely to find their way onto overseas markets in the future.
Major stores are bracing themselves for increased demand for products that will keep users cool, with the Yokohama branch of the Tokyu Hands store, for example, setting up a display of new products on its ground floor.
Alongside traditional fans are a selection of neck-chillers, pens with battery-operated fans on their caps, a selection of cooling body sprays and fashionably designed cool packs.
And judging from the consumers snapping up the products, people are concerned at just how long and just how hot the coming summer is going to be. One of the most popular items is proving to be the Cool Scarf, a stylish cloth pouch that contains a cooling gel that a user places in the fridge overnight and is ready to be wrapped around the neck first thing in the morning.
M-Craft Co. has developed a slender backpack that can be filled with a gel that is cooled in the freezer before the "Ice Ruck" is slipped over one's shoulders. The Yagihashi department store chain has started selling pillowcases that contain a pocket for a vacuum-sealed pad that contains a refrigerated, moist fiber pack designed to stay cool long enough for a user to get to sleep.
Developed with bedding supplier Nishikawa Sangyo Co., the pillow and cool pack sets cost Y2,079 (€17.77).
Elsewhere, home appliance stores are promoting electric fans - with energy-saving versions particularly appealing to consumers - while Fast Retailing Co., the operator of the Uniqlo chain of discount clothing stores, has increased output of loose and thin clothing ahead of the summer season.
Given that companies and even the government has voiced support for staff wearing cooler and more casual clothing at the office, Uniqlo has launched a new range of polo shirts, men's chino trousers and linen jackets that are smart enough to wear to the office.
Life & Style blogs
The mother who never gave up on her child abused by the Oxford child sex ring
Britain scrapes into top 25 countries in the world to be a mother in Save the Children report
How to gain confidence and maximise your sexual potential
What do the emoji on Snapchat mean?
The 12 most sexually satisfied countries in the world revealed
In defence of liberal democracy
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
Andy McSmith's Sketch: Feisty audience is the real star of an enlightening show
- 2 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...
£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...
£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...