Electricity is expensive. I realize that's a relative term, but it is literally three times more expensive here than it was in Arlington: 30 cents per kilowatt rather than 10.
I'm guessing that's why there are so many electricity-saving measures in place here that we don't have in the US, like the ability to easily turn the hot water on or off as needed, the custom of hanging clothes to dry instead of using a dryer, or the AC units.
Each major room in the house (bedrooms, living room, tatami room) has its own AC unit, and all of those rooms have doors, so you can pick and choose what room or rooms you want to cool, which is kind of nice.
Fun fact: every air conditioner in the house works except the one in the master bedroom, and this is becoming problematic. Right here and right now, it's not the hottest place on the planet or the most humid, but it's hot enough and humid enough that we don't always sleep very well and we get cranky.
So in trying to get the AC fixed, first we had to make sure that it was broken. This is easier said than done, because none of the remotes (each unit has its own remote, too...cool, huh?) have anything in English, so the first step was to painstakingly look up each kanji on each button and each screen setting to see what was what. The index card diagram I made is pretty invaluable.
Then we tested the cooling and heating settings in each room and compared the air coming out of those units with the one in the bedroom. We determined A) every other unit is A-OK and B) when the "heat to 32°C" and "cool to 20°F" produce the same lukewarm breeze, it's broken. I contacted our person that acts as a liaison between us and the People That Fix Things and she arranged for someone to come out to look at the unit last week, but they said that they couldn't fix it and the manufacturer would have to send someone out. So the bad part is that we still don't have a cool and/or dry room to sleep in, but the good part is that we were right that it is actually broken and it's not just a case of the illiterate gaijin not pressing the right buttons. So that's something.
Today I'm experimenting - the air has been pretty sticky almost every day for the last couple weeks, so instead of running the AC units on "air conditioning," I'm just going to run the dehumidifier and see if I can tell the difference in a few hours. I just really don't want to be responsible through negligence for this beautiful house starting to mold uncontrollably.