A Local Perspective on Life in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

Combat ‘Natsubate’

For those of you who have been in Japan for at least one summer, you know what it’s like to suffer from ‘natsubate,’ known in English as summer fatigue. I never really noticed it back home but in Japan the heat combined with the humidity factor really gets to me.

To figure out if you might be suffering from it, see if you have any of the following symptoms: lack of appetite, lethargy, insomnia, disrupted digestive system, lower energy levels. If you have two or more of the symptoms, you might very well have a case of summer fatigue.

It is said that eating grilled eel (unagi) is good for curing natsubate in that it gives the body stamina and strength. This makes sense considering the fish is packed with all sorts of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin B. Vitamin B is also said to help relieve a bout of lethargy.

Japanese pears, watermelon, and citrus fruits are good fruits to cool the body. I particularly like washing Delaware grapes and freezing them in a tray. When frozen they can be eaten (skin and all) and taste somewhat like sorbet! This works just as well with seedless Kyohou grapes and other grape varieties. (to buy fresh local grapes, there is a grape farmer just behind Couronne bakery…dozens of varieties I never knew existed can be found there!!! That and Chiyoda ‘fruit city’ is home to plenty of fruit farmers, many of which offer an all-you-can-eat type of fruit picking plan.) Another great treat is banana ‘sherbet’ created by cutting up a sweet ripe banana, dousing the pieces generously with lemon juice, and popping it into the freezer.

If eating something does not help, try putting a wet towel on the back of your neck or wetting your hair. This creates a eco-friendly air-conditioning system of sorts!

Good luck and stay cool everyone!

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