I used to have a co-worker who, on the hottest of summer days, would drink a pint of hot water through a straw and claim it helped cool her down. Naturally, everyone thought she was insane or belonged to some weird religion, or both, and would try to avoid working a shift alone with her.

But it looks like her weird sect of Scientology or whatever it was may have been onto something, as our Japanese reporter swears by eating microwaved steam buns to cool off in the summer.

You may wonder how this idea even occurred to the guy, but to understand his thought process you have to be here in Tokyo during the summer, where it’s so hot you’ll literally just try random stuff to see if it somehow miraculously cools you off. Once I stood on my head in the break room and recited prayers to Odin to cool off, and damned if I didn’t feel a soothing breeze from the heavens – or maybe it was all the blood rushing to my head.


Steamed buns (mushipan) are a type of sweet snack bread available mainly in Japan. In their simplest form, they’re made by steaming flour, baking powder, sugar and milk, but they almost always come flavored with additional ingredients. Caramel, cheese, and chocolate are convenience store staples, but our reporter swears by the hard-to-find shaved ice flavors, heated for a minute or so in the microwave.

The shaved ice (kakigori) varieties are actually flavored like popular Japanese shaved ice toppings: strawberry and condensed milk, and sweet beans and condensed milk.


With Japan’s penchant for regional specialties, the two varieties are typically only available in Western Japan, but our reporter happened across them in Saitama of all places and snapped them up.

Ironically, the items were advertised as being especially delicious if placed in the freezer for a few hours, but our reporter figured there was no way something as orthodox as eating them cold would really help beat the otherworldly Tokyo heat. Of course, there are easier ways to stay cool, but whatever works for you I suppose!

Photos: RocketNews24





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