There are some things about the Japanese climate that you just can’t really get around. The summers can get uncomfortably hot, like that time I was here for the hottest summer in 100 years. Or the occasional typhoon, like last weekend. If you’re not familiar with typhoons, which sometimes get confused with tsunamis*. Typhoons are strong winds and rain caused by low pressure systems over subtropical waters. They can get pretty destructive when the weather system’s winds are strong enough. I want to say that hurricanes and typhoons are different names for the same thing. In the U.S. people use the word hurricane or cyclone, whereas in Japan, the word typhoon, (たいふうor 台風) or is more common.
*Tsunamis on the other hand are usually linked to earthquakes, and are caused when shifting tectonic plates creating a large displacement of water in the ocean. The resulting, gigantic, waves of rushing water that reach nearby land masses can be incredibly destructive as we saw on March 11th, 2011.*
Right now the thing to be aware of is Tsuyu, つゆ or 梅雨, rainy season. It’s not really anything dangerous, but it’s can be a bit of drag sometimes when you have day after day of rainy weather. Rainy season here in Kanto, usually runs from early June to mid-July (I get confused about the exact dates to be honest). It seems to have started a little earlier than normal this year. It’s early for Kanto anyway. Okinawa/Kyushu generally has an earlier rainy season than the rest of Japan.
At times the term “rainy season” can seem to be a bit of a misnomer. Some years the rainy season isn’t really all that rainy at all, while others can be moderate, or even heavy. This year’s rainy season? Well, it’s just getting started but I’m hoping for light to moderate rains, because it makes my bike rides/walks to work much much easier. I always get a little worried when rainy season comes though, because it means that those summer temperatures will start to rear their ugly heads. It’s not always the heat that does it for people. I’m from Georgia and my hometown is know as “Hotlanata” because the heat can get pretty serious. But here, in Japan, when those viciously-hot summer days in late June/early July coincide with the Rainy Season humidity…it can be a hot mess…LITERALLY. Being in public school this time around means that having good air conditioning may be an issue for me. About a month from now, I’m not looking forward to becoming a Donaldo Roast, so I’m going to enjoy the rain while I can 🙂
Break out those umbrellas folks,
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