Rant on deodorant and central air/heating in Japan

Rant on deodorant and central air/heating in Japan

So I learned the hard way that Japan does not have western-style deodorant readily available.

This is not something I anticipated when I moved here and isn’t something you really think about.  It should be like finding toothpaste or face wash, right?

Turns out that’s not true. Perform a Google search for Japan and deodorant and you will find others have the same complaint observation. For someone who does a good amount of planning, I’m surprised I missed this.

Maybe it’s due to physiological differences or a cultural thing, but deodorant (and antiperspirant in particular) isn’t widespread over here. The local CVS-type store had a selection of about 7 different ones, 5 Axe aerosol-type sprays and 2 ball-roller. There weren’t any options for stick deodorant.

It's like playing Where's Waldo
It’s like playing Where’s Waldo

This is surprising given that 72.3% of Japan does not use a car to commute to work. About 50% use trains and they can be incredibly crowded during rush hours. By comparison, a mere 14% of the United States gets to work without using a car. I can’t imagine how it works without widespread antiperspirant on crowded trains in months like July and August. Maybe Japanese people just don’t sweat?

Luckily, I was able to order a four-pack from the United States Amazon site. It cost $15.88 for the order, plus $17.58 shipping for a unit cost of $8.36. On a good note, the postal system here is wonderful and I received my package a day early as they deliver on Sunday.

Amazon has saved me multiple times

On a related note, it reached 84 °F inside the office today despite being in the low 70s outside. My hands were sweating just sitting at my desk. I can’t imagine what it would be like if I was staying into July.

Where I work is located on the second floor of a building and is filled with computers, laptops, employees, and frosted windows that you can’t see through. The layout of office environments in Japan doesn’t help. Japan doesn’t normally have cubicles like in the US, but rather open seating with a 3.5 foot wide desk space along a long row for each employee. 12 employees in Japan fit in the same space as about 4 employees in the United States. That’s not an obesity joke.

It looks a lot like this. Photo credit: Francois on Flickr.
It looks a lot like this. Photo credit: Francois on Flickr

On top of this, central air or heating also isn’t widespread in Japan. In winter, we heated the office with a small radiant heater and I don’t know what happens when it gets hot yet, but right now it’s not looking good.

Keeping my fingers crossed for a polar vortex.

1 thought on “Rant on deodorant and central air/heating in Japan”

  • The culture differences always fascinate me. Great info.
    Glad to see you are keeping your sense of humor through all of this.
    Thank heavens for the internet – eh!

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