Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Super Cool Biz

Most school students change their uniforms on June 1st and October 1st.
The annual summertime "Cool Biz" campaign started on June 1st. The government started the campaign to save energy and stop global warming by wearing casual wears and lowering the temperature of the air conditioner in 2005.

This year, the Ministry of the Environment recommends the "Super Cool Biz". The officials of the ministry can wear casual wears such as a polo shirt, a T-shirt, an aloha shirt and jeans.
We are seriously worrying about power shortages in the Metropolitan areas during midsummer due to the quake on March 11th and the nuclear accident in Fukushima. The government require major companies to save up to 15 percent of their electricity use.

Some companies put ahead the start time for an hour during summer. Some ask employees to work on holidays instead of taking two days off during the weekdays. The government also recommends households to take measures to save on electricity. Energy-saving electrical products and non-electrical goods to cool off on hot summer days are attracting much attention.

The midsummer sales wars of department stores have also begun. The main attractions of this year's sales wars are local specialties of the afflicted areas and goods to cool off.
Ochugen(お中元) is a summer gift given to superiors, customers or relatives around mid-July. Recently, many of summer gifts are sent to relatives just like Oseibo(お歳暮).

The custom comes from the annual events of Taoism including Jogen(上元, the 15th day of the 1st month), Chugen(中元, the 15th day of the 7th month) and Kagen(下元, the 15th day of the 10th month).
The god born on the day of Jogen brings good luck, the god born on the day of Chugen forgives sins and the god born on the day of Kagen drives away evil spirits.

1 comment:

  1. The high school I attended (in Ontario, Canada), always changed to summer uniform on Victoria Day (the Monday before May 25th), and switched to winter uniform on Thanksgiving (the second Monday in October) . . . it's interesting to see that the dates in Japan are pretty similar!