While the rest of the world was burning this during the beginning of this year’s summer, Japan just finished up an extended rain season. It felt as if its been raining for a month straight.
If you lived up north in Hokkaido, the weather was more normal, but those of us who’re closer to Tokyo have been going out with an umbrella packed since June. The Guardian reports that Tokyo received a low average of only 3 hours of sunshine per day for the past 20 days. Even with poor weather, it still manages to be hot and humid.
You’d think the rain would cool you off, but it doesn’t.
This past month served as an exercise in figuring out what the do and where to go on rain days. I resorted to more costly forms of family entertainment. In an earlier post, I mentioned how Japan has the best public parks for children. But their worth was diminished with the constant precipitation . The family and I ended up spending more time at malls and bowling alleys to evade the poor weather. Japan has many malls with indoor play areas for children. Prices can be reasonable, but sometimes they’re just outrageous.
The closer you are to Tokyo, the more expensive these sort of things become.
On most days, rain water would mist through the air like a theme park cooling station. Last summer was normal, hot and miserable. We’d spend days at the pool and beach, making sure to pack plenty of water and snacks. It was around this time last year when we went on a family road trip to Nara and Kyoto. I’ll probably write more about that trip in the future.
Unfortunately, the terrible weather hasn’t only impacted how we spend time outside and our ability to wear yukata; on a more serious note, parts the Japanese economy has taken a significant hit. The Guardian reported on how the lack of sunlight negatively affected the growth of local Japanese produce, therefore effecting its availability and pricing at local grocers. If you’re wondering why you’re paying extra for your favorite vegetables, it’s because of the weather. The weather that had me constantly wearing jeans and boots.
Alas, we’re back to the normal hot and humid weather of Japan, which brings more challenges.
The biggest risk during rain season are mudslides, but summertime in Japan can is also dangerous. People are often hospitalized when the blue skies and harsh sunlight emerge. Sixty-five people died in one week during last year’s heatwave.
Not because of suicide or violent crimes, because of the heat.
There came a point when my daughter’s school suspended all outside adventuring to avoid any heat-related problems with the children.
It’s important to stay well hydrated during summer. Luckily, there’re vending machines EVERYWHERE in Japan; street corners, train platforms and possibly in front of your home.
It’s an added benefit that the train systems have open air platforms. I couldn’t imagine if the trains here operated underground like the New York City subway system.
Thankfully, we’ve received decent sunshine this week.
Cicadas are firing at all cylinders.
One of my favorite ways to beat the Japanese sun are beach trips and spending time at the local pool.
Stay safe during the summer. Drink water. Find air conditioned spaces and wear loose fitting clothes. Japan’s summers can be amazing if navigated safely. They’re a lot of amazing festivals I’m hoping to attend this summer.
Let’s hope for good weather in the future.
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