Technical jacket


The round things on the right and left side of the jackets

Japanese builder wearing his personal air-con jacket


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).


photo: The Telegraph

photo: The Telegraph


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.

12 thoughts on “Technical jacket

  1. Re Finnish winter: You must think I’m crazy for having jumped at the chance to work in Finland for a winter, and for having deliberately travelled the final leg to Finland on the train from London through Denmark, Sweden to Helsinki, in order to experience (or at least see) a “real winter.” Worse still, after that I was willing to, and did, spend three consecutive winters in a very grim Soviet Moscow in large part because I still was chasing a “real winter.” Kids raised in Portland, Oregon, as I was, tend to crave winter (and particularly snow), as it tantalizes us from an early age with its possibility but rarely actually materializes. I still haven’t had a “real winter,” as those winters in Helsinki and the USSR were, according to the Soviets, the warmest winters in 900 years. I could not even see the Scandinavian or Finnish winter through the train windows on that London-Helsinki ride, as they were covered in thick ice. And during every one of my several Christmas’ in s.w. Minnesota, zero snow.

    Re the men working at computers in their technical jackets: are their offices not air-conditioned? If they are not, I’d be concerned about not just the workers, but also the computers, overheating!

    And last: to where are Newfoundland dogs indigenous? Newfoundland? I love the breed.

    Thanks for another fascinating post, Leslie

    • For several years in a row (apart from last winter), they’ve had some pretty cold and snowy winters in Finland. Since they seem to be going though a cold spell, maybe you should go and visit this winter and you might experience ‘real winter’:)

      In Osaka, all offices, shops and public indoor places have air-con, but to save energy, they are often set to 28 degrees, which is not exactly nice and cool (but better than the 35 degrees it is outside). So, those workers who would like to be cooler than 28 degrees can have personal air con jackets. When fully charged, the jacket fan has 11 hour battery life, which makes it considerably ‘greener’ than having the air-con in the office set for, say, 22 degrees.

      I’m guessing Newfoundland dogs were first bred in Newfoundland, like the Finnish Spitz were bred in Finland, but I’m not sure. But what I am pretty sure about is that unlike Japanese globe makers, most (Finnish) people wouldn’t associate Newfoundland Dogs with Finland 🙂

      Glad you liked the post!

      • Their Newfoundland looks awfully lot like a Bernese Mountain dog, at least the coloring is not at all typical to Newfoundlands 😀 (and yes they are from Newfoundland/Canada). So I’m not sure they even got the dog right 😀
        Stumbled upon your blog via fb-post calling for au pairs – really interesting stuff!

      • Hi EK,

        Thanks for you comment and thanks for correcting the dog breed – you are right, it is a Bernese Mountain Dog.

        I used to have two Dalmatians. I competed in agility and frequently went to dog shows with them (so, I should really know my dog breeds). Also, my friend used to own a Bernese Mountain dog. So, I must have been half asleep or brain dead when I wrote that blog post 🙂

        Many thanks!

  2. I was really bemused by the globe and the choice of animals chosen to represent the different countries. I wouldn’t mind ordering one !!!

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