As Pleasant gives way to Humid/Hell, our family starts an unusual game of money saving endurance tinged with denial. I also am forced to give my students fair warning.
Basically our plan is to put off using our air conditioners as long as possible. Energy, even after the earthquake and tsunami and subsequent irratio-political battles over nuclear power, is still reasonably cheap in Japan. However, as cheap as it is, we are even cheaper (in a different sense of the word).
As the first step we take toward humid/hell, we put off taking out our fans. Granted, this is partly because the storage closet in the “variety room” (“junk room” is too strong a phrase as not everything in the room is junk) is hidden behind the variety pile. Taking out the fans thus requires a bit of rearranging, lots of washing of heavy blankets and the washing of the cover of the electric carpet. All of this is then folded and stuffed away with the kerosene heater whilst the fans are carefully assembled and the empty boxes returned to the storage closet.
We then endure the increasing humidity with fans and open windows for as long as possible. Our goal is to get as close to July as possible without having to use our air conditioners. (Note: most of Japan uses Split AC systems rather than central air, which means we have different ones for the living room and the bedroom.)
Once we end our denial, getting the air conditioners ready involves spraying them with cleaner and then running them to make sure the drain hoses still drain. (One year the living room one didn’t; temporary hilarity ensued. And a lot of wiping.)
We then use the fans to try and move air around. The variety room, where I do most of my “work” has no AC and I commandeer a fan to keep it coolish.
Then winter rolls around and the process operates in reverse.
As for my students, the new school building where I work is impressive but is also bright because it has lots of windows (translation: it’s a big greenhouse). Students therefore battle each other over the proper temperature. My basic rule is they lose five points for every degree above 24 Celsius (about 75 Fahrenheit). The highest ever was when someone set the temperature for 30 Celsius (86 Fahrenheit). I pointed out that when the temperature reached 30 we usually turned the air conditioner on. I then deducted 30 points from the guilty students final score.
We just took out our fans. Our journey to hell is well under way.