Thursday, 11 August 2011

Summer of 2011

Summer 2011 seems to be characterised by two things: power shortages & heat, and radiation.  Though that might sound like three, this summer power shortages and heat are conjoined twins sharing  vital organs.   With Fukushima dai ichi out of action Tokyo, and the whole of Eastern Japan, is on voluntary electricity rationing.There is a conspicuous effort to save electricity: lower lighting, some trains running at 80%  frequency, less aircon, no aircon. Occasionally I still pass places with aircon blasting onto the street, but they are becoming much less common.  
Like most hot summers there are cases of heat stroke, but numbers are probably up. There's a heatwave on at the moment - the minimum temperature lately has been close to the August average maximum - 29.  On NHK last night there was a report that 270 people were hospitalised in Kanto (Tokyo and surrounding prefectures) for heat stroke and two people died - including an 81 year old farmer who was working in the fields. I am not sure why she was working in the fields in the middle of a 37 degree 100% humidity day - preferable to be inside with no aircon?  The day before a  junior high school boy died  after collapsing in baseball training.  Japanese school sports can have a reputation as being brutally excessive in demands placed on members...
 NHK pushes the line that people die from heatstroke because they don't have aircon. or hesitated to use it, continually highlighting the paradox of saving electricity while not getting heat stroke.  Aircon is a human right that we regrettably have to forego...  

A hot day yesterday - most of the country 30+ - there needs
to be a 35+ category - yesterday many places including Tokyo
were above 35.
25+ is a hot night.  At midnight there were parts of Aichi and
Gifu -  Nagoya area that were 30+.

Energy consumption graphed alongside the maximum capacity.
Not a very big buffer zone.


Theresa said...

I noticed the "heatstroke death caused by lack of/under use of aircon" thing on NHK, thought it was odd. It's not THAT hot, you're not going to drop dead without artificially cold air blowing on you at all times. Why not just insert aircon commercials after such stories then? And old people, some of them don't feel the heat -- the MIL has only one rickety old fan and rarely uses the aircon. Sam and I are dripping with sweat and she's perfectly fine. She knows enough not to go out in the noonday sun and she drinks lots of liquids. I don't like high school baseball tournaments anyway, but I hate to see those boys out in the heat. They can't play in the evening or very late in the afternoon? Oh wait, the games have always been during the day, can't change 20th century traditions.

Cecilia said...


They did it last summer too, and it irritates me. There was a man and his son who died in Saitama last year in the summer heat. They didn't have electricity to their house because of the cost. NHK went for the air con angle....nothing about inadequate nutrition or medicine. I read the other day only 11% of Japanese deaths have an autopsy.

You can bet that the energy companies wine and dine NHK.