Japanese workers warm up to cold-weather ideas

thumbnailby Misako Kitaoka

WHAT’S HAPPENING

  • Just as the Japanese government promoted “Super Cool Biz” to encourage offices and individuals to conserve electricity during the hot summer months, it is promoting “Warm Biz” this winter by asking people to bundle up, eat warming foods, and to keep the thermostat at 20°C (68°F) or lower. The result is new cold-weather fashion accessories and foods.
  • The snood or gaiter — a large tubular neck scarf — has increased in popularity among both women and men. People wrap this scarf around their neck, but they can also place it on their lap to keep their legs warm. Takashimaya Department Store saw a 250% increase in its sale of snoods since last year (Yahoo.co.jp, 30 November 2011).
  • Other popular items include leggings for men to wear under their trousers, vests (either over a dress shirt or a blazer) and gloves with conductive fingertips that allow the user to operate a touchscreen.
  • Convenience stores have responded with warm foods. 7-Eleven has launched renjide atatame mitarashi dango, rice dumplings with soy sauce glaze that is heated in the microwave. Similarly, Lawson has introduced a fondant au chocolat and cheese souffle, both of which are heated on the spot in a microwave.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS

  • The Japanese are very aware of the need to conserve electricity after the Tohoku earthquake in March 2011. They appreciate all the various products and services that help them comply with energy-saving measures.
  • It also doesn’t hurt Japan’s faltering economy to encourage people to buy more warm-weather gear and more efficient heaters.

RESOURCES

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