Just a quick note that this week begins what in Japan is called the Rainy Season, written as 梅雨. You can read these characters one of two ways: tsuyu or baiyu, both are fine. The first character means “plum” (ume) while the second means “rain” (ame). According to Japan Guide’s website, this is during the time that plums finally ripen, and since it’s raining a lot, it’s the plum and rain season.
Many years ago, as a student living in Vietnam, I remember the killer summers. The first half was brutally hot, sunny and muggy, while the second half rained like crazy. You could see lightning in the sky for hours before it suddenly rained. The rain was so intense, I remember bicycling through the streets once, but unable to see 2 feet in front me! Flash floods in Hanoi are very common as the water runs downhill and overwhelms some neighborhoods, but houses are all built somewhat elevated from the street, so they’re used to it. Houses are also incredibly long and narrow because property taxes are based on the width of one’s house.
Japan’s Rainy Season is nothing like the monsoon you see in South East Asia or India, but it does rain a lot for about a month. Although it’s fun to visit Japan when it’s sunny, it does get quite humid in the summer, so the rainy season is a nice respite from the impending heat to come.
And if you ever want to see the Irish Rainy Season, just visit here anywhere from January 1st to December 31st.1
P.S. More on how to read kanji in a post coming up pretty soon.
1 Actually Ireland’s weather has been pretty nice this last few weeks. The common joke here is that we’re allotted 5 sunny days a year, and we’ve already used them up. Oh well.