It’s hot. I used to think the south was hot and humid but nothing compares to the heat and humidity that is Japan in the summer time. I’m talking like three showers a day heat and humidity.
The summer season is a interesting one here in Japan. First of all it’s almost the end of July and the kids literally got out of school, like, two days ago. It is also supposed to be rainy season, which I’ve come to believe is a farce, since it has barely rained this summer. My weather app predicts rain every day, however, it rarely ever does. Global warming? It really doesn’t matter that it’s not raining because you sweat so much here that it’s kind of the same thing ;p
Here are some of my observations and annoyances of summer time in Japan:
- It’s 95 degrees with 100% humidity and most Japanese people are covered head to toe in sweaters, pants, hats, face masks, and arm covers. They do not like their skin to see the sun. Unlike, me I look forward to summer to get a nice tan and not look so pale. It’s the exact opposite here. I guess there is a reason Japanese people age so well, no sun exposure
- Air conditioners are set at 80 degrees, even though it’s hot as hell outside. Since we live in a city I do a lot of walking and taking public transit and therefore some relief from this would be to stop into a store or get on the subway where it’s nice and cold…except not! Japan is so energy conscious that if (yes if) there is air conditioning it’s always set pretty high and never really that effective for this westerner
- Japanese people don’t sweat. At least I haven’t seen it. The moment I step outside I end up looking like a hot mess and Japanese women look like they just walked out of a beauty salon. Ugh, sometimes I wish I had these genes because I practically melt everyday
- The cicadas…John calls it a gauntlet of cicadas, but literally they are so loud here. I’ve never heard anything like it before. It’s become somewhat of white noise to me at this point, but wowie they are loud and there are millions of them!
- Lastly, water. This one is not necessarily associated with just summer time, but every time you go out to eat in Japan, they give you a tiny water glass and usually you have to ask for it. I’m ALWAYS thirsty in Japan, especially during the summer. It’s such a tease when you sit down to lunch or dinner out and no sooner do you gulp down your shot of water are you yelling “sumimasen, mizu onegashimasu”. I’m convinced Japanese people do not need as much water as I do.
Although, I never appreciated it until I got older, I’ve been lucky enough to come from what I consider the best state in the U.S., Michigan. I know that not all who read this blog would agree, but home is home and Michigan is just that, especially during the summer. You just can’t beat it. Up North, the lakes, festivals, campfires, summer night bar hopping, the huron river, BBQ’s, outdoor bars, Oberon…the list could just go on and on. Now that I’m spending my precious summer in Japan I realize how much I miss all of that. However, despite my complaints of heat and lack of air conditioning there are many things that I actually love about Japan in the summer time.
- Shaved ice. It’s everywhere during the summer and comes in all kinds of flavors (I’m a fan of mango). I’m in love and pretty much every time I see a shaved ice flag outside a restaurant I’m all in. The ice is shaved so fine that it almost tastes like bitting into a cold cloud. You can find shaved ice all over the city, as there are specific signs that indicate whether or not the place has it. I’ve scouted out a few nearby, of course! And from the photo below you can see how excited I get over shaved ice! Oishii desu おいしい!
- Oktoberfest in July. It’s weird I know, but Nagoya has a three week long beer festival in the middle of July. The weird thing about beer festivals in Japan is that they give you glass mugs. I talked about this before, but honestly who gives a bunch of drunk people glass? Annnnd then…there was this random bear and weird Japanese guy. Only in Japan. Konpai 乾杯!
- Japanese Gardens. Nagoya has so many parks and each one of them is beautiful, I think this might be something I miss when we move back stateside. Although, I have a feeling I might love them even more during sakura season!
- Festivals and fireworks. There is no shortage of matsuri’s (festival in Japanese) during the summer months. These are always fun to go to because they have a good mix of traditional Japanese customs. Most women go dressed in yukata’s (summer kimonos) and there is usually lots of Japanese food and beer available.
- The waterpark. So this is a like and also an interesting observation. Waterparks in Japan are weird, to put it simply. As I mentioned above, the Japanese do not like showing skin in the summer, this is no different at the waterpark. No joke people were swimming in their clothes. Also, you have to bring your own pool raft, get out of the pools every 50 min, and of course in true Japanese fashion, take your shoes off to go into the locker room. Even the bathrooms in the waterpark have small pools outside of them to wash your feet before entering. Another, strange observation is that there are no chairs at the waterpark, not a one. Most people were legit squatting, something you see often in Japan. It’s fondly known as the Asian Squat. Here is a youtube video so you can see what I’m talking about (shout out to Jaime for this gem!) Can you Asian Squat? Japan is sometimes a very, very strange place. Here take a look:
As you can see my summers in Japan are nothing like they are at home, but I guess they really aren’t supposed to be. Everyday, I’m lucky to try something new and different, but I will say that some days I just want some normal BBQ, a lake, and an Oberon.
Thankfully, John and I are headed out in 2 weeks to Bali! I’m so looking forward to a beach, relaxation, and some quality time with my main squeeze.
Until next time! Cheers!