Thursday, 22 July 2010

Feeling hot, hot, hot

Japanese people often ask me what things have been difficult for me in settling in Japan. I think they are expecting me to reply about cultural differences, language barriers and the like but, honestly, I think the thing I find hardest to live with here is the climate. The winters here are pretty cold and snowy, but I can cope with that; put on warm clothes, move about a bit, take a hot bath... There are lots of ways to warm up. Summer heat, on the other hand, is inescapable, and relieved only by the power of air-conditioning.

The rainy season has now come to an end here, and we're well and truly into summer. In other words, up until last week it was hot, humid, cloudy and rainy. Now it's hotter, slightly less humid, bright and sunny. Last Friday seemed to be the turning point, though in a surprising direction; the day started very hot and bright so I did 2 loads of washing, hung my duvet outside to air and opened all the windows before going out to Jusco. Emerging from the shopping centre about 90 minutes later, I found black skies, torrential rain, thunder, lightening and a temperature 9 degrees lower.

Arriving home I quickly closed all the windows, mopped up the few wet bits of floor and dumped the sodden duvet in the bath. Luckily it was a washable one so I took it to the laundrette the next morning. As for the washing, I realised that there was no point in rushing to bring it in as it was completely soaked anyway. So I just left it there and started all over again on Saturday...

Since then, it's really been summer. This morning it was 30 degrees at 8am, and 35 degrees at 1pm, according to roadside temperature displays. The thermometer on the car read 42 degrees at lunchtime... Even today's temperatures wouldn't be so bad without the high humidity, but leaving the safety of an air-conditioned room still feels like walking into a greenhouse. Of course, it looks lovely when you admire it from afar - blue, blue skies with the occasional fluffy white cloud contrasting with the beautiful rich green of the rice fields. It seems like the perfect day to go to the beach or play in the garden, until the heat of the sun and the humidity hit you, that is!

Anyway, enough whinging! I am making my escape next week, for the less predictable but also less taxing delights of a British summer - do I need to pack shorts and T-shirts or jumpers and a coat?

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