ウィリアムズ英会話教室
茨城県 水戸市 
 
(029) 305 4421
infrequent and not necessarily  about teaching,  but...
07/07/2012

'Cool biz' (business) has been a recurring theme over the last few summers in Japan. As daily temperatures regularly hit the high 30's and there seemed to be little respite even after the sun went down, people tried to think of ways to avoid heat exhaustion.

At home, nets supporting creeping plants were suspended outside windows to deflect the fierce glare of the sun. The nets are known as 'green curtains'. Morning Glory is a popular choice of plant, as is goya, which is a staple part of the diet in Okinawa.

At work, office staff were encouraged to wear loose cotton clothes. Ties could be left in the closet. Open necked shirts and short sleeves, and in some cases even shorts are acceptable attire. 

Promoting 'Cool biz' took on a renewed significance after the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011. With nuclear power stations shut down there was a pressing need for everyone to save energy by reducing the use of air conditioning.

Recently, the topic of appropriate dress codes for teachers was raised on one of the email discussion groups I belong to. One teacher wanted to know if others considered shorts to be acceptable in the classroom. Having sweated my way through more than twenty Japanese summers and never taught a class in shorts, I was prepared to chip in on the side favouring a more formal approach. 

Odd then that just before I found time to type a reply, I had a kindergarten class where we were all sitting on the carpet around a low table. Even though the windows were wide open there was little breeze and the room was getting stuffy. As I shifted position a 10cm horizontal rip appeared in my trousers just above the left knee. I almost had an instant pair of shorts, if a little lopsided.

Luckily the children were cool about it.