This is my third summer in Japan and frankly if this country was like this all year round, there is no way I would have taken the job to come. Being from the perfectly temperate region of the PNW (that’s the Pacific Northwest of the United States for the layman) I am absolutely out of my
If you are experiencing your first summer in Japan, not in the mountains or up north in the beautifully cool Hokkaido, but on Honshu, then you are thinking “Why oh why did I move here?!” rest assured I empathize with your pain. There are ways to live through it without getting heat exhaustion or melting into a puddle on the sidewalk though, so keep reading.
Obviously a result of the oppressive heat, there is sweat, so much sweat! I’m not going to go into any more details, but if you’ve lived in a humid climate you feel my pain, for those of you who haven’t, the best way I can describe it is similar to walking into a steam room fully clothed. To beat this heat and humidity, stay inside. Really. If you are like me and are finding it oppressive don’t torture yourself! When you do go out, take a parasol, lots of water and a couple rags to wipe up the sweat because you’ll be pouring with it just standing at the bus stop.
The cicadas…oh the cicadas. I used to like the sound. It reminded me of camping. The outdoors, summertime, friends, swimming in the lake. Now I have a Pavlovian response to the sound and immediately know it’s going to be miserable out. And the numbers! The numbers!! There aren’t a few out there. There is a symphony of buzzing, chirping and gnawing loud enough at times to drown out any thought I might be trying to have. Make sure if this sound bothers you as much as me you have white noise to drown it out or ear plugs to block it when you try to sleep.
And speaking of sleep…daylight savings does not exist in this country. It’s completely unique to the US, in case you weren’t already aware, which means the sun rises at 4:30 AM. If you are not a morning person (as I am not) make sure you have black out curtains or you’ll be crabby, crazy pants every day.
As a true PNWestern I look forward to the fall, cooler weather and the rain (gasp!). My desire not to suffer heat exhaustion and nausea from the diabolical combination of heat and humidity has me cowering in my air conditioned apartment, against my better judgement (believe it or not). I would much prefer to be outside enjoying the sunshine, but alas during this time period it isn’t going to happen. I look forward to weather becoming more tolerable at the end of August. Until then I’ll continue to gape in astonishment (even after 3 years) at the men who go running covered head to toe in clothing and the women who stroll around in their layers upon layers of clothing and a lacy parasol to top off the ensemble.