When it gets really hot in Tokyo, the locals like to sprinkle water on the street in front of the house or shop. It's an old tradition that has become popular again here, called uchimizu. In the heat, water on the streets evaporates naturally and during this process, a small amount of energy (0.58kcal/1g water) is absorbed from the surrounding air. When many people perform uchimizu the difference can be quite noticeable. Rainwater is generally used, not drinking water, and the city of Nagoya lists the following beneficial effects of uchimizu:
1) Eases the urban heat-island effect
2) Reduces dust etc.
3) Raises public awareness of water and the environment
4) Increases neighborhood interaction
On August 2, the Kanda Shrine hosted an event where the water was properly blessed by the shinto priest - he also blessed a bicycle for good measure.
Participants included famous maids, dressed up as manga characters, from different coffee shops in Tokyo's Akihabara district, known for its electronic shops.
The girls have started their own environmental campaign called Licolita to combat global warming and support different "eco actions" around town.
Photos from the Uchimizukko website
Written (without using airconditioning today) by Martin Frid at greenz.jp