Another Summer in Okinawa

Summers in Okinawa are “hot”. At least that’s what most people say. In fact most people start complaining about Okinawa’s heat way in the spring months because they are new to the island and think that the first sign of humidity is the “worst it can get”. Unfortunately for them once June rolls around that’s when we start to see some real humidity and then come July we’re in full blown summer and THAT is when it can’t get any worse.

Okinawa’s summers are actually quite mild if you’re looking at temperature alone. We are mostly in the 80’s maybe in the 90’s and rarely in the 100’s. Unfortunately the numbers don’t say much at all about the summers here in Okinawa. The problem that we usually encounter is the combination of humidity and dew point. Here in Okinawa we’re usually at between 70 and 80% humidity on average (and by that I mean on an average night). Depending on some other factors we may find ourselves with as much as 100% humidity and I say that assuming that you understand I am not talking about when it rains. That alone might suggest some difficult conditions but then consider the dew point. Our dew point here in Okinawa is usually around 75 to 81 degrees. Put it all together and what do you get. . . . .

Have you ever heard the expression “air so thick you could cut with a knife”? I think someone who lived a few summers here in Okinawa must have come up with that phrase. All the above conditions make for this swampy thick hot environment here in Okinawa. It’s almost like you’re in a greenhouse or something. At times it is so hot that the air conditioners can’t keep up which is why (as well as the cost) we don’t run them as often as you might expect someone living in these conditions to. Even if you did run the air conditioning constantly it wouldn’t do much to combat the constant stream of sweat.

So how do I deal with the heat and humidity of summer in Okinawa? Well I could tell you that I have gotten used to it but that would be a complete and utter lie. In all the years I have been here I still find myself asking how the heck I got through this last year. The reality is that I do what I can to keep cool through other more “realistic” and cheaper means. I might use a fan in my home and rearrange the layout of where I spend most of my time in order to avoid some of the hot sun rays that peak in through the open windows. I also buy certain products like UV curtains and sprays to keep me cool. In actuality I find myself changing clothes at least 3 times a day and probably taking about 2 showers most days. I avoid being outside and like most people in Okinawa I take refuge in shopping centers when I want a nice cool blast of AC rather then putting it on in my house.

Either way regardless my efforts I find myself struggling through the two or three short months of summer before the fall rolls along. Then when fall is finally here I can’t believe I made it through alive. . . . then I wait for next year.


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