Toyota's head honcho has a unique idea for saving energy. He's launching a campaign to get Japanese businessmen lose the tie and jacket over the summer. Going for more casual dress in the office means the office can crank back on the airconditioners. Add that up around all the businesses in a country and you save a lot of juice. They're calling it "Cool Biz." The Japanese Environmental Minister has gone so far as to ban neckties from his buildings through the summer.
As someone who's been collared with a tie through Washington's humid, sweat-soaked summers, and who grew up in more humid climes, I've never really thought they make you look all that professional all the time. Sure, I guess the tie does draw attention from the sweaty hair, red face, and bulging veins on your forehead. And the jacket hides the gallon of sweat your shirt soaks up from your armpits. But the overall look, not a pleasant fashion statement.
I speak for hundreds of thousands who would agree that importing "Cool Biz" across the Pacific would be the most welcome gift from Japan since the cherry trees. And the smell (or sudden lack of it) around town -- would be twice as nice, too. (NYT)