A short extract of a post that features in my book about the Great East Japan Earthquake, The Teas That Bind:
We had all suspected it, but the official confirmation that the rainy season had ended seemed to give summer an unrequired impetus. Barely into July and already with the mercury regularly nudging 30 before breakfast time, this is perhaps no sensible climate for an auburn-haired English rose.
This is my first Japanese summer, as I arrived in late August last year, still in enough time to know the feeling of being covered in sweat from waking until falling fitfully asleep again, but thankfully having ducked the worst.
This year has also been compounded by the events of March. Aside from the nuclear power plant damaged by the quake and tsunami at Fukushima Daiichi, a large number of others have been taken offline for checks. To avoid the real possibility of unplanned power cuts, everyone is trying to save energy where possible. Lights are off or dimmed, factories are planning weekend shifts and the train companies preparing for reduced services. But the biggest cause for concern and topic of conversation is air conditioning.