Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Uncovered: The real reason Japanese people live so long (while remaining environmentally conscious!)

We’ve figured it out, folks! The answer to why Japanese people frequently live past the ripe age of 100 isn’t as much of a surprise as you would think.

The answer? Cryogenics. There you have it. Of course, I’m not talking deep-freeze cryogenics, since that would significantly inhibit the productivity we often wrap up in our image of “Japan.” The cryogenics I’m referring to is more like slow refrigeration of the body while still fully conscious.

“Ah!” you might say. “That makes a bit of sense.”

Japan is very much like any household refrigerator, and its people are the delicious vegetables you throw inside to prolong their deliciousness. That’s right. I said it. Japanese people are vegetables.

I happen to be placed in the same situation, very much like one of those exotic vegetables you come across and buy to try on a whim, only to toss it in with the normal vegetables.

But in all seriousness, it’s a bit chilly here and not just outside. Compared to Wisconsin weather this is very much like early autumn, temperatures still lingering in the teen’s 15°C (60°F). Central Air is not a common household item here and energy costs are a bit pricey. My host family only has a small wood stove in the main gathering area of the house, and the wooden frames of the sliding glass doors throughout don’t quite fit squarely with the jams. It’s not unbearable though.

At school the rule is that all rooms must be set to the default seasonal temperature when not in use. These standards were put forth by the government as an effort to reduce energy consumption. Not that bad of an idea, to tell you the truth.

The philosophy behind this measure is as follows. The closer to outside temperature a building is the less energy is being consumed. Hey, that makes sense. So, when using a classroom we can crank the heater to whatever is comfortable, and when we leave we set it right back to seasonal.

The standard temperatures, you ask? Well, in summer the norm is set at 28°C (82°F), while in winter the norm is 20°C (68°F).

That covers classrooms at least, but what about the rest of the building? Apparently leaving every window open is a common occurrence on our campus, so building hallways are as close to outside conditions, only with a roof over your head. Be sure to button up, even if you’re just moving to a classroom down the hall a bit.

Air conditioning and heating is really a luxury we choose to pay the price for. Maybe if we refrained a bit we’d all live almost as long as Japanese people who in turn have the opportunity to witness the improving efforts at being environmentally conscious. Double payoff, wouldn’t you agree?


  1. I choose being warm over a prolonged life. Every time I see an open window it gets harder and harder to resist the urge to run up to it and slam it shut. I cannot comprehend the function it serves, leaving them open! Things will get interesting when "winter" arrives.

  2. Wait, does the food play any part in the prolonged life?

  3. The food is well refrigerated too. The appliance is practically unnecessary, haha.

    But in all seriousness, yeah food is pretty healthy here. I feel my life getting longer every day.


Questions, disagreements, complaints? Feedback is more than appreciated!