Friday, 2 July 2010

The rainy season

Drip, drip, wipe, wipe, drip, wipe, drip, wipe  ......

The rainy season is in full swing.

Terry toweling handkerchiefs mop sweaty brows, sweat oozes down ones back and front and sides, hair becomes either very limp, or very frizzy, and morning make up has tricked down one's neck by 11 am.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the rainy season began on Mon 14 June in Tokyo, 6 days later than average. (The date of the onset of the rainy season, like the date of the first snow, traditionally seems to assume more importance than one's birthdate.)

Foreigners and Japanese alike moan incessantly about the weather ... a colleague the other day was lamenting the lines of sweat that trickled down the surface of every limb, bemoaning the forests of mushrooms that were growing in every crevice of his body...  (eeeeewwwww...toooo much information.......) Mould grows, sales of "kabi killer"  and dehumidifiying crystals get stacked into cupboards,  the moisture in the air means a futon hung out to dry will come in damper, the washing takes on a certain kind of mustiness that even the 'hang indoors' washing detergents find difficult to combat.
But given a choice between winter and the rainy season, the rainy season wins hands down.  It is warm! No need for 4 layers in the house or 7 layers out,  no need for thick layers of bed clothes.  No skin that parches like a dead camel in the Sahara. We make a breakfast transition from rice to noodles. The trees in the parks are covered in folliage and hydrangeas (ajisai) thrive in the humidity.  Between the Keihin Tohoku line and Asukayama park  at Oji station in a shaded walkway, there is a magnificent wall of hydrangeas that stretches for several hundreds of metres.  The rainy season also heralds the opening of department store roof top beer gardens that high enough to catch the breeze in the evening.   It is hot and it is sticky, but it's good. 

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