Japanese Rainy Season 2011 (Tsuyu (つゆ, 梅雨))

By Donnie | Articles

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,

Donald Ash

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  • Don’t feel too bad. Here in the states we’re having crazy weather. There were tornado warnings in WV where I live. In April and May I swear there were only 7 days of sunny weather. It wasn’t a very nice spring. Most of it was spent inside. *cheers you on* The sound of rainfall is really pleasant.. just the thunder that bothers me! *hides*

    • Donald Ash

      That does sound like a pretty glum, rainy spring, Nanami. I hope summer is a better better. But I’m glad you took time to come by and post while you were indoors 😉 . Please be careful with the whole tornado thing. I was watching some interviews with the people that survived the Joplin tornado, it has to be incredibly frightening, being in your home as the wind literally tears it apart. What’s with all the natural disasters these days?

      • nanami

        Haha. I escaped the doom and gloom for two weeks. One which I still have ahead of me. Toronto is sunny and breezy. It is perfect late spring weather!

  • You GOTTA hear the rainy season song…….not as popular as in the past but…..EVERYONE in japan knows it.

    I posted it here along w/the lyrics in romaji and translated into english as well along w/original japanese.

    sorry i just keep linking to stuff…just easier than repeating what i have written about before in my blog.


  • Sean Patton

    I got to experience rainy seasons when I was living in Vancouver for a few years. In Ontario where I’m from it rains once in a while (usually torrents of rain with high winds), but in Vancouver from around mid-October to the end of May it is constantly cloudy and rains on average 20 days out of the month. Weeks will go by without as much as a glimpse of the sun. I’ve heard people actually go crazy and have to move somewhere else because the lack of sun creates depression. What really sucks about Vancouver rain is that it’s not really heavy enough to demand an umbrella, but persistent enough that everything is always damp. I pretty much had to submerge my shoes in Febreeze every week and could probably still fell an ox with them.

  • The bird that flutters least is longest on the wing.

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