Summer is a popular time to travel to Japan, but many foreign visitors find themselves unprepared for the combination of heat and humidity in the country. Unfortunately, many people who don’t properly prepare for those conditions can suffer from heat stroke. Travelers from other countries are often unaware of how easily heat stroke occurs in Japan, so they are particularly at risk. In actuality, anyone whose body temperature reaches 104°F is vulnerable to heat stroke. Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency reported 30,410 people were taken to the hospital due to heat stroke in August of 2018 alone, a 76 percent increase from the previous year.

With a busy traveling schedule, it can be hard to keep track of precautions such as protecting yourself from the sun and people are at risk from heat stroke even indoors. So it's important to remember the everyday measures such as wearing cool clothing, wearing hats and bands that can block the sun, and trying to stay in cool places and buildings. But perhaps the best and easiest way to help yourself enjoy Japan and beat the heat is an “ion supply drink” with a name that has many English speakers mystified—Pocari Sweat!

The name may have you thinking you’re buying a bottle of sweat, but the drink’s name is actually a reference to replacing the electrolytes and water lost in perspiration. It’s enjoyed by many athletes in Japan as a sports drink, but Pocari Sweat is actually a drink that can help provide maintenance for your body regardless of athletic activity. It's an enjoyable way to keep yourself refreshed during hot trips in Japan, and the makeup of Pocari Sweat replaces the human body fluid lost during perspiration, as shown below.

(Left: Human sweat, Right: Pocari Sweat)

Pocari Sweat also has an easy to enjoy subtle taste, sometimes compared to a hint of grapefruit, so it’s not overly sweet as you may have come to expect for drinks associated with sports. Furthermore, it’s available in a number of different bottle and can sizes, as well as a powder formula that you can adjust and dilute to your liking with water.

The drink has also become sort of an emblem for Japanese summer, thanks in part to an impressive ad campaign that is known for several commercials featuring a group of high schoolers dancing in perfect unison to inspiring music. While each year's commercials have different slogans and concepts, a shared theme is that enjoying one's youthful days. The commercial below has a tagline of “you sweat for your own sake”, a reminder that sweating through hard work and fun is a fulfilling process, and that Pocari Sweat is an enjoyable way to refresh yourself after that.

As the heat and humidity of summers in Japan can take travelers by surprise, it’s important to take as many measures as possible to avoid heat stroke. Pocari Sweat is a delicious and nutritious way to keep yourself hydrated, and make the most of your time in Japan—it also has a name that may raise your friend’s eyebrows!

By - Big Neko.

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