Thursday, July 21, 2011

Blow Me

Gentle readers, meet summer's hottest must-have accessory for every distinguishing young lady who deigns the thought of a little upper-lip perspiration. Personally, nothing beats the feeling of a small trickle of sweat slowly creeping its way down my ass crack as I try not to let the sheer delight of it all show on my face. Nonetheless, following on from last year's efforts to go native, so to speak, I give you this, the neck fan.

In short, I have taken to wearing a plastic rectangular fan around my neck. Werk.

It started with a ladies-who-lunch lunch with some Semi-professionals, one of whom showed me her, uh, neck fan. Every summer we Tokyoites love to talk about how damn hot it is and this year, thanks to the motherfuckers at TEPCO, we have even more to talk about with people we have nothing to talk about with: electricity saving measures! I could give a 10-minute soliloquy about these measures that would make Hamlet weep. To give you an example, I like to tell anyone who will listen how embarrassed and hesitant I am to use a recently inherited standing fan to rid me of the sweat beading at my hairline. None of the Secretaries have fans but by some strange twist of fortune/misfortune, I am with fan this year (not to be confused with "with child," something that would send me running for the hills). Do I even need to say it? Altogether now: I CAN'T TURN IT ON.

For all that I do to play down my whiteness (including but not limited to hiding the sound of my pee, taking care to rustle my plastic bags quietly, and greeting people with "sorrythankyou"), this would blow (ha) my cover. It would be a huge red flag reminding people that yes, I am still here, and yes, still a lonely whitie. This is not to say I don't use it on the sly. Some mornings I arrive extra early and when no one is around, bask in its cool winds. As soon as I hear footsteps, that puppy goes off. Now that we are deep into super cool biz, I have stopped sneaking around with the fan and have unplugged it and left it in a conspicuous place so my colleagues can see I am in the same hellishly hot boat as them. Yes to conforming!

The first question out of my mouth when my lunching lady showed me her fan was , Do you use it while typing at your desk? I figured if it was inconspicuous enough, I could keep cool guilt-free. She switched it on and let its sweet, cool rays blow gently across my cheeks. Sold.

Bonus points: I didn't even have to go out of my way to get it. While buying something at 7-11 later that evening I happened to glance down at a table near the register laden with all manner of keeping cool apparatuses and there it was. Begging to blow away my sweat. Sold.

The next morning at work I arrive at the same time as most of the Secretaries and am super excited to sit down and cool off on the DL. When no one's looking I slip the fan around my neck and press "on."

Gentle readers, it sounded like there was a helicopter overhead (abort! abort!). I immediately switched it off and thought back to our lunch. I couldn't recall my companion's fan being loud or making any noise at all. I switched mine on again. No, it was definitely conspicuous and if fans could talk, this one would be shouting, whitie over here! whitie over here! It's taken me a few weeks to get used to it, but I now feel comfortable using my neck fan with fairly reckless abandon, even when the office is dead silent. I do still get a little jumpy when people come by and are in earshot of my tiny wonder, but I banish the embarrassment by telling myself they must think the noises are emanating from my computer vents.


Michelle said...

That's brave of you to use it anyway! I couldn't. I probably would faint, because of a very strong blush and therefore to much blood in my head. Or sth like that.

Did your colleague have another version maybe?
And: What happened to the old-fashioned hand held fans?

Green-Eyed Geisha said...

Michelle you make an excellent point - I do love a held hand fan as they are much more elegant (and silent!). neck fan allows me to work with both hands while I am cooling off.

kathrynoh said...

I have to have one! And please tell people are blinging them up - because it wouldn't be Japan if you didn't stick sparkly shit on anything that doesn't move.

I want one of the cooling sheets from the 7-11 but i'm not use if it would be like sleeping on tinfoil and as annoying as hell.

Chris said...

Does it just feel like a fan or is it using some uber tech that cools the air it blows?

You are the "white nail" in the "Nail that sticks up" idiom or metaphor or whatever the fuck it is :)

TEPCO has no sway or guilt induced "cuz they fucked up after a natural disaster and when they built a Nuke plant on a fault line in the first place" effect...

Glad you fighting the heat cuz it ain't even August yet...that's just scary....the heat hasn't even come in full force yet...:)

April said...

Have you seen that cooling gel spray in your local 7-11? It on the news in the US because it's kind of ingenious and stupid at the same time.

Lisa said...

What are people wearing to work in Tokyo these days?

Green-Eyed Geisha said...

kathrynoh: um they are now! I haven't seen any kira kira ones yet but you could set the trend for this.

Chris: I think it's just a fan but it does feel nice and cool. Re: TEPCO, it's shocking. If they aren't hung out to dry I hope there is a shitload of backlash..we will have to wait and see.

April: I haven't but it sounds great. I imagine spraying it and then using the fan would be the ultimate luxury in this damn heat.

Lisa: As little as possible. The majority of men are still in suits but I have seen a few guys around the office wearing chinos and polo shirts, it's hard to get used to seeing them like that. Maybe it's because we have more variety of choice, but we didn't get any cool biz guidelines for women...not that I want to start wearing a polo shirt to work but yeah. I wear the same stuff I wear every summer and just try to stay inside as much as possible (easy when you are a corporate ho).

karisuma gyaru said...

lol. maybe your coworker had a "higher end" version that was quieter?

lol. either way, i need one!

Green-Eyed Geisha said...

karisuma gyaru: Must be. Or the batteries are running low. Get one! i am still working up the courage to wear mine outside the office :)

☆sarita☆ said...

Did you see Time Out Tokyo's tips on staying cool without AC? Many fun things to know and share!
Including but not limited to sticking your bedsheets in the freezer and spreading kumquat on the back of your neck.

Carol said...

I love reading stories about you being a whitie in Japan! I definitely would sit there using that fan, it beats having the sweat drip down your back and making an unsightly stain! Back stains I'm sure that will go well with the Secretaries!

Erin said...

Oh, I saw a salaryman with one of these in the train a few weeks ago and I was super jealous.

Also, your description of ass crack sweat basically sums up my entire summer (can I also add "adventures in trying to pull up stockings on sweaty legs?"), but luckily my company seems to be rejecting cool biz/setsuden, if my boss yelling "PUT IT TO 24" is any indication.

Green-Eyed Geisha said...

Sarita: I didn't but I'll check it out, although I draw the line at smearing produce on myself!

Carol: !!! Back stains are definitely not cool with the Secretary crowd.

Erin: Love your boss! Hopefully that won't get your company fined though?! Invest in one of these little wonders, they are the saving grace of my summer this year.

wakanai said...

Hello green-eyes, I miss your stories about the Kaisha.
About the noisy fan, maybe your version was 'Made in China'? :P

Green-Eyed Geisha said...

wakanai: And I your witticisms :)