the ‘summer blanket’… or, towel.

Posted on 08.07.2014


My friend’s mother gave us SO much stuff when we moved into our new house. It was really awesome and amazing of them, and we really appreciated all of the help in this very new living situation.

Aside from a LOT of furniture that ended up almost filling most of the house, she gave us 2 full futon sets that we used until we bought our own, and lots of blankets, pillows, etc. In the same group of items, she handed us a lot of what I consider ‘beach towels’: you know, the big ones that are the right size for wrapping around your entire body, or laying on the beach (with some space to spare). She gave us these and referred to them as ‘summer blankets’.

‘These are clearly towels’, I thought to myself. We used them as towels when we had guests. They were towels.

Then one evening last month, we were over at this friend’s house, when her mother dropped off her daughters from having stayed at their place. The girls’ bags had towels in them. I said, ‘oh, did you guys go to the beach?’, and then my friend said ‘oh, no, those are the summer blankets’. I asked how they were used, and suddenly it all made sense.

In the summer (NOW) here, everyone tends to sweat in their sleep. I certainly do. Since most people sleep on futons, this is kind of bad and can lead to molding, if the futons aren’t allowed to ‘breathe’ and air out sometimes. This is why, if you’ve been to Japan, you sometimes see futons hanging over balcony railings. Because of this, the summer blankets (towels) are used for people to sleep ON and UNDER. The towel catches most of the sweat, meaning the futon doesn’t catch it and grow mold.

unnamed-2It sounds hysterical, but I tried it when we got home that night. I tend to sweat a lot when I sleep, too, and the sheets smell a little sweaty between washes. So I slept ON one of the towels (under the cover, of course), and it totally caught the sweat and kept it off the futon! I just hung it up to dry on the balcony, and used it the next night as well. It’s like taking the idea of a duvet cover one step further, so we don’t even have to wash the sheets. Even though, obviously, we do.

So now I completely understand the ‘summer blanket’ idea, and am myself a practitioner of it. Now, if I could just manage to get out and get a futon COVER made of memory foam, I’d feel like my work was done. But that’s going to take more than one day off!