By Cathy Rose A. Garcia
Associate Editor

SUMMER in Japan is usually very hot and humid, but thankfully Japanese consumer companies have come up with many innovative products that help people keep cool.

Shelves of “cooling” products can be found in stores like Don Quijote, Matsumoto Kiyoshi, Daikoku Drug, Tokyu Hands, and Loft.

Even if the signs and names are in Japanese, just look for products that feature images of penguins, polar bears, snow flakes, and icicles. If you’re still unsure, grab anything emblazoned with the word “COOL.”

One ingenious product is Shirt Cool, which, as the name suggests, is sprayed on clothes and gives the wearer a cool feeling when they get sweaty. Brands like Shirt Shower or Cool Shirt Mist have the same effect, and also come in light blue bottle sprays.

Instant Ice, on the other hand, is meant to be sprayed on a handkerchief and used to refresh your face when you get hot. The aerosol spray is small enough to be tucked in a woman’s purse.

If there’s one product I swear by, it’s Seabreeze Deo & Water (around ¥500-600 or P250-300). Seabreeze is a liquid deodorant that you can use all over the body. To use, shake the bottle well and apply the liquid to your skin. It’s best when you’re hot and sweaty after being outdoors or working out in the gym. It comes in different fragrances, and an icy-type that claims to provide -5°C cooling effect.

Another product I always stock up on is a pack of “cool-type” body sheets. It’s like scented wet wipes for the body, and helps mask any unpleasant odor. Biore and Gatsby (for men) have a variety of scents and levels of coolness. I spotted one called Happy Deo which had Daisy Duck on the label saying: “It freezes me.”

While the packages of body wipes for women are in pretty pastel colors, the ones for men are usually in dark blue and black.

Japanese stores also carry a wide range of sunscreen products, with Biore UV and Anessa seemingly the most popular ones.

Also useful during summer are cool sprays, which provide instant relief from the heat; and minty lotions, which help relax tired muscles.

If you’re staying under the sun for a long time, it’s best to grab an ice cool pack. Punch Cool is one such portable instant cooling pack. As the name says, you have to “punch” the gel-filled pack and it freezes and keeps cool for several hours.

Many Japanese stores also sell summer hats, towels, shirts, and shawls that claim to have UV protection or “cool” technology. Uniqlo has for a long time been pushing the UV Cut feature on its jackets and light cardigans, saying it blocks 90% of ultraviolet rays and protects one’s skin from sunburn.

While traveling during the hot summer months, I found the cooling towels especially useful. These can also be used during your workout, daily run, or any outdoor activity.

Thankfully, there are also cooling scarves in tasteful prints and simple neck ties that women can use if they’re going to work or school. Just soak these towels and scarves in water and then squeeze off the excess and they are ready for use.

Sock store Tutuanna carries a huge selection of socks, including those cool ones with deodorant.

Another useful Japanese innovation is the sweat-absorbing underarm pad, which prevents unsightly pit stains on shirts. Attach the pads to your clothes under the armpit, and it claims to absorb the sweat.

For those who don’t want to get tanned arms but hate wearing long-sleeved shirts, grab a pair of hand and arm sleeves. There are many different sleeve colors, designs, and fabrics to choose from.

At Loft’s home section, I discovered cooling pillows, blankets, and pillow covers that claim to make sleeping more pleasant even without turning on the AC. I bought one such pillow cover for ¥1,500 (around P700). It wasn’t as “cool” as I expected it to be, but I did fall asleep fairly quickly unlike when just using a normally warm pillow.

So if you’re ever in Japan during summer, be sure to stock up on these “cooling” products since they can be used in the Philippines all year round.