Reviewed/Written by Craig Hoffman

The Dog Days Of Summer

It’s hot, boys and girls. Thankfully, my wife finally let me use the air conditioner in our bedroom last night. It is a yearly struggle to get permission from her to use the air conditioner. This year it has not been that hot so far in Japan. But over this past weekend, it got warm quick, fast, and in a hurry. I happily turned my air conditioner on full blast!
What do you do to keep cool in the summer? Let the Icon know in the comments!

“(Sittin’ on the) Dock of the Bay”- Otis Redding (1967)

Redding wrote the lyrics to this song in August 1967, while sitting on a rented houseboat in California. Redding recorded the song twice. The second time was just before his death in a plane crash. The song became the first single to reach number one after the death of an artist.

Those Were The Days

It reminded me of my first summer teaching in Japan. Years ago, I taught English at a junior high school. There was no air conditioning in the classrooms. Thankfully, the teachers’ room had an air conditioner. But the vice-principal made it a point to turn the air conditioner off every time he came into the office.

The really awesome secret was in the principal’s office. The principal would turn up his private office air conditioner every morning. Literally, one day I walked into the room to get my time-off sheet stamped, and I saw my breath!

“Wipe Out”- The Surfaris (1963)

Bob Berryhill, Pat Connolly, Jim Fuller and Ron Wilson wrote “Wipe Out” in Cucamonga, California in 1962. The song has been featured in more than twenty films. It also remains a popular marching band tune to this day. (Yes, I was a band geek back in the day.)

Suit Up!

That first summer I taught in Japan I wore a suit and tie every day. Many of the male teachers in the school did the same. My predecessor had gone to school often in jeans and a t-shirt.

My supervisor said, “It would be best to ‘dress up’ for work.” So I did. Eventually, I ditched the suit jacket, and I wore a shirt and tie every day. But it was a long hot summer that first year.

“Summertime Blues”- Eddie Cochran (1958)

The song’s narrator resents taking a terrible job to get some cash, and he cannot go on a date with his girlfriend because his boss schedules him to work late. Eventually, the young man’s fury builds to the point that he plans to take his gripes to the “United Nations…”

Is This Thing Even On?

The air conditioner in my first apartment in Japan did not work well. It blew lukewarm air at a speed that would make a sloth look like an Olympic sprint champion. It was difficult to sleep at night. I would wake up in a puddle of sweat.

Adding insult to injury, while my air conditioner did not work well, it used an enormous amount of electricity. My utility bill was uber-expensive that first July. After that, I never turned it on again.

“Summer of ’69”- Bryan Adams (1985)

Canadian musician Bryan Adams sings about the dilemma between settling down or trying to become a rock star. The song was overshadowed by other tracks from Adam’s Reckless album. But this classic tune is consistently rated among the best songs ever written. A must-listen during any long summer car ride with your screaming kids in the backseat.

Dang, That Rising Sun Is H-O-T

I spent a lot of time in shopping malls, McDonald’s restaurants, and karaoke boxes the rest of that first summer here. The air conditioning was free. To this day, I have absolutely no idea how Japanese people can sit in a hot room with a functioning air conditioner and not use it.

Final take: Recreating the arctic in your living room during summer!: 5/5

Craig Hoffman is a music graduate of Ohio Northern University and The University of Akron School of Music. He also serves as the Icon’s Japan correspondent.