#Beastmode. Staying heart and head healthy no matter what; letting nothing get in your way. There are things that are harder to do when you move to another country. Especially one like Japan. When  walking outside is like swimming in a pool. OK, ok, so I’m exaggerating just a LITTLE, buuuut the combination of humidity, blistering heat, and non-use of A/C can leave us all like wilting, unmotivated, stinky flowers (Not sure how a flower’s unmotivated, but whatever). So, I’m going to share with you the SECRETS TO RIDING YOUR BIKE 4 MILES (ok, 3.7), UPHILL, IN CRIPPLING HEAT, TO WORK EVERY DAY WITHOUT DYING. That’s right folks, If you are an ALT living in Japan, you’re gonna wanna read this little gem. So here’s one way to burn some extra calories riding your bike during Japan summers without killing yourself…

I love being jacked and tan. I hate being overheated. I am one of the sweatiest people I know. My body starts cooling itself down immediately,at any tiny little opportunity it gets, leaving me to display by back sweat, pit sweat, neck sweat, leg sweat, ALL through my clothes, plus a beautiful skin glow on my upper lip and forehead. And, I am being really nice to myself right now. So, for you folks who are like, “No, you don’t understand! I am sooooo sweaty! I can’t ride my bike to school, otherwise I’ll be sweating through my clothes before I even arrive!” You know what? You are absolutely 100% right! Ding! Ding! Ding!! Hot dog, we HAAAAVE a wiener! It’s true, and it is unavoidable. So, without any further ado…

Secret #1: Setup your Sweet Ride

Setup your bike so you have options. If you are someone who has to ride really far on your bike, and you have to carry your lunch, your teaching supplies, your change of clothes, and other random crap, biking any distance can be almost impossible. So, get your bike ready for action; come rain or shine, you are ready for a great leg and heart workout (I’d love to say it’s also a self-esteem booster, but let’s be real, nothing’s dorkier than a bike with a basket). Here’s what I’ve done:

I call her Falcor.

I call him Falcor.

Add a bungee to secure anything you can’t fit into your basket. Also, put a used plastic bag  under the bungee. This is for those random crazy come out of nowhere rainy days. You can cover your seat with the plastic bag, and not have to ride home with a soggy bottom.

IMG_9378Also, get a rain proof cover for your basket. This has saved my stuff COUNTLESS TIMES. Judge me, go ahead.


Take these simple steps, and you’ll save your self heartache later when the weather turns sour, or you need that extra room to put all the homemade pictures the kids drew for you.

Secret #2: Wear workout clothes on your bike ride to and from school.

I know it seems like a really simple thing. But it really is THAT simple. In the spring and summer, I leave my house in sunglasses, shorts, granny panties, flip flops, a tank top, and throw a foldable rain-jacket and my work clothes in my bike basket. I have a crap ton of tattoos, and although no one requires me to dress a certain way outside riding my bike, I DO stop a few blocks away from the school and throw on my half-sleeve jacket to cover up the guns. Just so the teachers know I care a little bit about their youth. When I get to school, I am DEFINITELY a sweat factory, but I’m a sweat factory with a killer outfit waiting for me in my bag! Seriously, game changer, just bring your work clothes in a separate bag and put them on once you arrive. After school, change back into your workout clothes and take off for home (or the gym).

Secret #3: Leave your house a little earlier to allow yourself some cool-down time once you arrive at school.

I… have nothing to add.

Secret #4: Find the hidden tatami/changing room!

Each school has one. It’s a locker room, or a tatami room, where teachers often go to store their belongings, relax, change, and take naps during their day. I have indeed confirmed this with my supervisor. Each school in Japan has either a locker room, a tatami room, or a mixture of both where teachers can go to chill out. Fortunately for most high schools, you can find a tatami room with a futon somewhere hidden away. It is one of the finest treasures of these otherwise horribly old uncomfortable schools. Find this room, and you can do a Clark Kent without accidentally showing your lady bits or man parts to your coworkers.

It's so beautiful.

It’s so beautiful.

Secret #5: Keep a magic bag full of cool-down goodies in your locker! (Or strap it on your bike with your handy dandy bungee crap holder)

I am not even joking you. I keep a bag full of stuff that is ESSENTIAL for cooling down/getting ready for your day.

Here's the bag

Here’s the bag


Here are the surprises!

Sweat Towel: To soak up your nasty sweat and stink.

Cooling Fan: To immediately begin the self cool-down phase. Face, pits, butt, whatever tickles your fancy.

Extra Underoos: Seriously, I keep extra in this bag and take them home at the end of the week or whatever and wash them. Since I wear a sports bra and granny panties to school, I change into appropriate underwear and summer bra. I need to get rid of every sweaty piece of clothing I came to school in, and I can’t very well walk around with a nasty uniboob.

Pit Stick: Because sometimes putting it on in the morning just isn’t enough.

Smelly Stuff: I like to smell nice throughout the day. Mostly though, I just don’t want to get any whiffs of my own stench.

OXY DEO – Cooling/disinfectant spray: They make a variety of this type of product in japan. Some are simple body wipes, and some are sprays. Of all the kinds I’ve tried (and trust me, I’ve tried a LOT) I like this one the best. It has a really nice fresh clean smell to it without overpowering my own personal body spray, and it leaves your skin feeling tingly and cool while you go to the office to sit on your butt.

Secret #6: Find the fridge and put a cold bottle of water in it.

;-; It's so beautiful.

;-; It’s so beautiful.

Whether you report to an office in the morning, or you have a base school. FIND THE FRIDGE!! And when you do, keep a bottle of water waiting for you inside of it! It will save you. As soon as you are ready and in your work clothes, you go to that fridge, and you DOWN THE BOTTLE. Surprisingly, this super cold liquid will make it through your body relatively quickly, and kick your body temp down a notch! It’ll also replenish all that water you just lost riding the four miles to get to your school.

So, that concludes my SECRETS TO RIDING YOUR BIKE 4 MILES (ok, 3.7), UPHILL, IN CRIPPLING HEAT, TO WORK EVERY DAY WITHOUT DYING. Also, if you suffer from “I sit on my butt too much during work and now I’m getting little bumps on my legs and butt cheeks” just know that you aren’t alone! I recommend keeping some baby powder or something with you (or in your goody bag) to powder your beautiful behinds 😉

I hope you found this helpful!!


4 thoughts on “#Beastmode

  1. Thanks for these tips, Tori! I’ll be getting a bike upon coming to Aomori, and I definitely was wondering about the best way to go about looking like I didn’t just walk through a sheet of water and stench upon coming to school. I’ll definitely be keeping this post on tab!

  2. Also, the body-cooler under-shirt thingies are surprisingly good at hiding sweat. A good way to avoid looking ridiculous is to slap a breezy shirt over top of one of those. I’ve gotten through city-wide presentations with that combo.

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