It’s the little things #8: Gaijin in the mist

So, the other day it was hotter than Georgia asphalt, and I found myself in Kannai, one of the few places I can find my Black & Mild cigars. I’d ventured a good 10 meters from the station when that first bead of sweat rolled off my bald head and splashed down on my eyelash.

Crossing the street, I noticed a smoky area…naturally I thought it was one of those Designated Smoking Areas that can be found in many busier districts in Tokyo these days.

But, oddly, the smoke wasn’t rising, it was descending which lead to my second thought: Is this another Sarin gas terrorist attack  like back in 1995? But, I didn’t take that one seriously.

As I got closer I could see that the smoke was emanating from nozzles along a large metal structure which looked something like a sound stage. I’ve seen comedians and acrobats performing here before but I’d never noticed the smoke. So, my third thought was that it was some kind of smoke machine like the ones used in Hollywood.






 It didn’t look so kosher to me. I mean, I’m not one for trusting fumes wafting down from pipes in the street. In NY they’re usually noxious. Then I noticed people below the smoke just chilling.

WTF! A slight breeze blew some of this smoke my way and I felt a gentle spray of water land on my skin.

Get the fuck outta here, I thought.

I grew up in the so-called ghetto. To cool off in the summer, you opened a hydrant and at the risk of handicapping the Fire Department’s efforts to control a nearby blaze, you played in the water. Firemen would come by, shut it down or put a sprinkler cap on it which would reduce the flow considerably. A raging river would be reduced to a shower.

And that’s just what this area of Kannai amounts to: an outdoor shower. Cool mist is released from pipes in that metal structure and people stand beneath it and bask in refreshment.

And it felt wonderful…

Unfortunately I don’t have a pic of my own basking, but take my word for it (-;

It’s just one of those little things about Japan…



14 Responses to “It’s the little things #8: Gaijin in the mist”

  1. September 3, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    These misting systems first saw wide-scale, urban street cooling on the sidewalks of Los Vegas in the 1970s. They work well in super-dry climates like Vegas, but in the tropical swamp of Kanto misting is much less effective (with humidity levels always above 80% RH.

    However, since Japanese have a ritualistic love of “Uchimizu” (watering/slashing the streets), so there’s no doubt we will see more of these in the future. For the past two years, the streets around the Tokyo Diet building us recycled rain water to mist over the semi-porous roadways to cool things off.

  2. 2 WC
    September 3, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    We actually do that here in America, too, in different places. It’s fairly common in tourist-y places in Florida where the visitors won’t be used to the heat. I believe I’ve seen it at both Disney and Universal Studios’ theme parks.

    That a city would put it in is pretty cool, though. 🙂

    • September 4, 2009 at 10:15 am

      WC-san, thanks for the info. I’ve never braved Disneyland or Universal in the US…yeah, I thought it was way cool (-: Must have hung there for a good 20 minutes

  3. 4 Joe
    September 3, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    Saw a few of these types of things in Shibuya last week, nothing anywhere near that big though!

    • September 4, 2009 at 10:13 am

      Joe-san, Yeah this sucker was huge

  4. September 3, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    They have mist systems set up on the sidewalks in Miami Beach at outdoor restaurants. I can’t understand for the life of me how someone could eat while their food is being misted by hose water.

    • September 4, 2009 at 10:13 am

      Billy-san, yeah that sounds kinda *ick*
      Never seen these things before

  5. September 4, 2009 at 1:16 am

    Vegas strip has ’em too for the pasty midwesterners that are about to drop dead from the 120 degree summer sun.

    Your blog is excellent!

  6. 9 Tom
    September 4, 2009 at 3:09 am

    Man, I gotta tell you, I don´t know what to expect anymore when I read your Blog, sometimes I find a ROTFLMAO story and some others I learn a bit about Japan, it´s people, culture and trivia.

    Yet again, Kudos fot the site, looking forward to your next post. =)

    • September 4, 2009 at 10:11 am

      Tom-san, like to keep my readers on their toes (-;
      thanks for the shout yo

  7. 11 Aka Gaijin
    September 4, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    I’ll confirm WC’s statement. I live in Orlando for a year, and would visit both parks regularly. The misting systems I knew of weren’t nearly that big, but man were they popular with the tourists!

  8. 12 Jim McDonald
    September 6, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Cool it is Loco. Same thing on the Marunouchi Naka-dori side of the Shin Marunouchi Bldg in Tokyo, although they didn’t mist much this summer.
    By the way, here’s a bit of “OK Brooklyn!” for you, third column from left:

  9. October 7, 2009 at 12:32 am

    These would be great down here in Miyako… Great pics

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