The topic of this summer: Setsuden

For sure this summer Setsuden (electricity saving) is a big topic. Simply because of the Fukushima disaster in Eastern Japan we do not have access to the same amount of electricity as in the past. If you either look at the picture on the side (provided by yahoo: actual available energy on July 24th afternoon 15:00 to 22:00 shown above, plus the expected energy for cycles for the next few days), or then check the present situation here.
Larger companies are under heavy governmental pressure to safe at least 15% energy or otherwise there can be rather heavy fines. Smaller companies or people at home do not face the same tough restrictions, but simply are asked to keep the electricity consumption down. One of the main energy black hole is air-conditioning. Officially offices are set at 28 degrees, but I believe with this setting employees are just too hot, therefore we will get another bump in the Japanese productivity this summer.
You might wonder what happened to the “cool business” this summer. Let me tell you that “cool business” does not really apply when you are meeting customers. Considering the still rather conservative business clothes ethics in Japan, I would be rather disrespectful to customers, if I show myself sloppy dressed (translated not in a suit). So far I have not heard of a company that actually had allowed the sales team to dress more casual this summer. For sure I am curious for next week’s dress code: Two of the biggest exhibitions are held in Tokyo (related to my field of work concerning biotech/pharma/process industry). Those exhibitions had been horrendous hot every year. This year I expect the temperature to be even higher in these halls…
Personally I believe we have to expect rolling blackouts this summer again. At end of June we have in Tokyo temperatures in the range of 30 degree Celsius, but this is not the real, hot and humid summer yet. Right now I am still able to function with an alert mind even without air-conditioning, simply because I have a strong breeze coming in from outside. Just imagine the typical office with non-opening windows, no breeze and stuck in business clothes. In order to avoid heat stroke more and more people have no choice but to switch on the electricity eating monsters: Air-Conditioning. Today we are running already at 91% of the available electricity, but how high will our electricity consumption be, when the real summer kicks in?

Brought to you by a concerned Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤)

2 thoughts on “The topic of this summer: Setsuden

  1. One trick would be to wear cooling underclothes from Uniqlo/other department stores under a suit, but it only does so much!

    It’s hard to get out of dressing habits. I wore a short-sleeve shirt that cut off above the bicep last week to work, and I felt naked! I’m so used to having a cardigan or a half-sleeve shirt now (2 years working in Japan). Stay cool!

    • Dear Odorunara,

      personally for temperatures up to 25C Uniqlo’s underwear makes wonders in a suit. On the other hand, as soon as temperature rises above, an additional layer of clothes makes me sweat even more. I guess at the end I have to focus on cotton and how that all the sweat does not show too much.
      For me the challenge is that my meeting partners still wear ties and a suit, so showing too much skin on my arms or legs would be simply inappropriate. Let’s see how the exhibition is this week then. So far the weather forecast shows rain and temperatures above 30 degrees. I guess it will be even too humid to sweat.

      All the best,

      Sibylle Ito

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