That’s right, my new best friend, who I am affectionately calling Mr. Fan. Considering I received Mr. Fan for free (these types of things are given away in Japan like tissue packets), I think this was a pretty felicitous meeting. Mr. Fan is advertising the fact Mount Fuji has been a world heritage site for one year.
None of that would matter to me, because I am friends with Mr. Fan for one simple reason — his basic function is to try and keep my insides from exploding from the heat.
You see, the thing you may not know about Japan — particularly southern Japan — is that in the summer it is humid.
No, wait, that didn’t get my point across.
It is humid!!!
Better. If you imagine weeping cherub angels and overflowing, boiling water while I say that, I think you may have an idea of how humid it is. Granted, it’s not as humid as India in the summer, but that’s like saying, “Being punched in the stomach hurts less than being punched in the face.”
I won’t lie, Mr. Fan doesn’t make that humidity go away — or really reduce it. But he does something. So when the moisture filled, hot air seems to be closing in around me — stagnant and unmoving — I can whip out Mr. Fan (even in public!) and start desperately waving him around my face in an effort to get some air circulation. (A breeze! A breeze! My kingdom for a breeze!)
Meanwhile, as I stumble around panting and wheezing, desperately flicking a fan about my face, my coworkers look on and make statements like, “It is hot today, isn’t it?” I wonder if I’ll be as calm about the weather after a couple of months (or a year) here. Apparently, it gets better in October…