A Japanese word for July : natsubate

Posted by on July 27, 2015 – Japanese Study

July’s Japanese word: Natsubate

Have you experienced Japanese summer yet? They are very hot and humid! Starting July, temperatures reach such point that you have literally the impression to be in a permanent sauna. Not only foreigners, but Japanese people too suffer from the Japanese summer heat.

You may feel physically tired, lose your appetite and have trouble sleeping. If you feel those symptoms, your friend will tell you this Japanese word for sure: natsubate ! But what is natsubate exactly ?

The word Natsubate can be translated as “summer fatigue“. This Japanese word is the combination of “natsu” meaning summer and “bate”, an abbreviation of “bateru,” which means “to be very tired“.  Natsubate is the consequence of hot temperatures during summer. But in recent times, it has been said that this happens not only due to the heat but also to the overuse of air conditioning. Very strong air conditioning is used everywhere in Japan: supermarkets, shopping malls and offices. 

Suffering from natsubate is very difficult, especially if you have to go to work. It can take up to two weeks before you recover fully from this summer fatigue. However, Natsubate can be easily avoided with some care.

First of all, drinking hot beverages eating vegetables and fruits are a good way to avoid stressing your stomach and to prevent dehydration. It is the perfect time to taste the delicious watermelon from Kumamoto prefecture! The traditional remedy for natsubate is to eat eel, as the Japanese say “Taking eel on the day of Doyo No Ushi (end of July) can avoid Natsubate“.

When days are hot and sunny, you are tempted to set the air conditioning very cold and strong. We understand how good and refreshing it feels like… but it is the right path to get natsubate! Better be careful, and ajust your body temperature with the soft mode.

Finally a little bit of exercise is very good to prevent natsubate and enjoy Japanese summer! Seems hard to believe, but the exercise will help your body fight against the fatigue. If running under the sun is probably not a good idea, it is the perfect occasion to go to the pool

Many Japanese words are built by combination of words.  Natsuyase means losing weight when it is hot due to loss of appetite during nastubate. The opposite, natsubutori, means getting fatter after eating chilly ice crime and drinking juice.

Did you know this Japanese word ? Have you ever been sick with natsubate in Japan ?

How to use this new Japanese word in conversation ?

Japanese Example
A:最近、夏バテ気味で、全然食欲ないんだ…
B:そうなんだ。私はアイスばっかり食べて夏太りだけど。

English Translation
A: Lately I have come down with a bit of a natsubate and my appetite has gone away completely
B: How about that. I have been eating just ice cream though and I am having a natsubutori.

Japanese Example
A:夏バテしないように気をつけて下さい。ウナギを食べることは夏バテを防ぐと言われています。

English translation
A: Please be careful not to get sick from the summer heat. It is said that eating eel helps stave off summer heat fatigue.

Japanese Example
A: 私は夏バテで全く食欲がない。

English translation
A: I have absolutely no appetite thanks to the heat.

Click this link to learn About Gogatsu byou, May sickness

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