Japan has wonderful weather, and for the most part, I really like it:
Fall is without a doubt my favorite season in Japan. The vibrant oranges and reds of the Japanese maple leaves dotting the landscape are stunning…just looking outside is one of the simple pleasures in Japan. During a typical fall day, the temperature is a bit cooler than it is warm, and at night, you might need a light jacket. It’s COMPLETELY COMFORTABLE.
Winter can get pretty cold in Japan. Having no hair whatsoever, my knit cap, scarf, and gloves are my armor as I brave the cold, brisk, morning bike-rides to work. Here in Tsukuba, we don’t get a lot of snow, but it is possible. I don’t really care much for winter, because of the numb fingers and toes, runny noses, and the aching lungs that come from breathing in that chilly, winter air. But, winter doesn’t last forever…
Springtime in Japan is absolutely beautiful, the birds sing, the sounds of the cicadas are so charming, and people start breaking out their warm-weather clothing, showing a bit more skin (women in Japan have really nice legs by the way…sorry, but it’s true). During the day, it’s just slightly on the warm side and you don’t even need a jacket at night. It’s really quite comfortable. As the end of spring nears, you start to feel that thickness in the air…oh no…that mugginess means that summer’s coming.
Summer can be nice in Japan. The sweeping pink-and-orange sunsets are some of the most beautiful ones that I’ve have ever seen. Last year, though it was hot, it was a mild summer in Japan. I felt pretty comfortable going to work, and everything was hunky dory. But, this year, though…SWEET JESUS!! Being from Georgia, I’m used to hot summers and even quite a bit of humidity, but Japan’s heat and humidity (this year especially) make Georgia’s summer seem like child’s play.
Summer 2010: Each morning, I would get ready to take my daily, uncomfortably sweaty, bike-ride to work. Opening the front door is like nature slapping you in the face…the heat and humidity were extreme. I would imagine if there are houses in hell, they must experience something similar. I would be lethargic, tired, irritable, and it was hard to explain why. But now I know it’s simply because my insides were burning. The heat wave this year seemed to go for weeks. Japan’s summer went from early June, and at the time of the writing is still going strong in September….SEPTEMBER!!
I was quite curious about the heat this year, so I asked some of my students about it. I heard from several students that, according to a recent news report, this was the hottest summer in 100 years!! I couldn’t believe it. I know it’s hot, but news like that is just the proverbial salt in my wounds. So, I wanted to give you an idea of what the temperatures have been like this summer:
These are the high temperatures recorded in Mito (a neighboring Ibaraki City) for each day in August:
If you look at the Sunday August, 22nd to Saturday August 28th, there was only one day that wasn’t in the 90s! I think Satan himself came out of the ground that week, or perhaps it was the heat-delirium effecting my vision. Also if you take the average of these temperatures, it works out to just under 89ºF or 31.7ºC. To some people some of these temperatures may not seem to be all that hot, but if you account for relative humidity, some of the days actually feel like they are just over 100º F. That’s pretty freakin’ hot I’d say!!
Maybe, it’s because I was born and raised in the southern U.S., but I still prefer being too hot over to being cold. Cold weather can prevent me from doing some of the things I really enjoy (like running for example). But after experiencing a summer with record heat, in an already humid country, it’s enough to make me change my mind.