My sisters own an outdoor shop in Kotka, Finland. Amongst other things, they stock ‘technical’ jackets made of materials like Gore-Tex, Windstopper and Polartec. Some of these materials are so amazing that NASA uses them in space exploration. However, they also have to survive in even more horrific conditions, namely the Finnish winter (which seems to last about 11 months of the year). Us Finns like to walk in the countryside and experience natural wildlife: bears, wolves and Newfoundland dogs (it seems that according to Japanese educational globe-makers, Newfoundland dogs are indigenous to Finland, see photo below), and the clothing needs to provide protection from the downpours of water, wind, mosquitos as well as angry summer cottage owners onto whose property we tramped just as he was running from his sauna into the lake in his birthday suit.
These types of technical jackets are great; they are waterproof and/or windproof and/or breath well to allow your body heat escape without making you feel like you are wearing a sauna suit (by sauna suit, I don’t mean a suit that coy Americans or Brits might wear in a sauna, but a suit that you can wear to make you feel like being in a sauna to lose a pound or two through sweating).
Unlike in Finland, early October is still summer weather in Osaka (or at least by the definition of summer in Finland). Because of the hot temperature, people doing physical work outdoors or tapping their computer keyboards in hot offices wear jackets with ventilation to avoid heat exhaustion. By ‘ventilation’ I don’t mean your outdoorsy ‘technical’ jacket’s zip under your arm ventilation – Nah. Japanese take the term ‘technical’ a notch further than the rest of us. In Japan, ‘ventilation’ means a personal air-conditioning unit in your jacket which is powered by rechargeable lithium batteries (see the photos above and below).
I’m now regretting that I didn’t have one of those personal air-con jackets 10 years ago when I was sweating out several litres of cider through my pores in hard house clubs in Brighton. But, on a positive note, 10 years from now when I might be experiencing hot flushes, I’ll know how I’ll show those hot flushes whose the boss.
This is not a sponsored post – not by Japanese manufacturers of technical jackets, or by my sisters’ shop. Neither am I planning to start exporting the Japanese air-con jackets to my sisters’ shop even though I’m sure they’d be a big hit amongst clubbers and menopausal women of Kotka. I think I can confidently say that in Finland the air-con jackets won’t be needed for hot weather.