It's raining right now and I'm sooooo happy!! It's been unusually hot and a bit humid in fact, I'm already wearing sandals! While right now is still fine in terms of heat and humidity I know what it leads to....hell!!! July~October....I wish I could live in Vancouver during this time-big blue sky...no humidity...heaven! But no....I live here in hell.
The one bright spot is that I'm planning to go back to Canada for 2 weeks and my mom lives near a lake so the weather will be fab!! I will also be able to go barefoot!! I am sure that you all take going barefoot for granted. Summer equals walking on your wood deck or in your yard or a park or a beach barefoot. This is something that most adult Japanese NEVER do! I mean NEVER. I once visited my friend's house-they have a big (big by Japanese standards) wood deck and I was about to walk out on to it from the living room and they quickly pointed to the outside shoes I was supposed to wear. I wanted to cry. I miss my feet touching dirt, grass, sand,wood decks etc. I tried to explain to students about how wonderful and healing the feeling can be to walk on grass in your bare feet but I'm not sure they got it. That makes me sad.
They also generally don't eat outside. Now, granted by the time July rolls around I have little interest in eating outside as the weather is so humid I lose my appetite but in spring when the weather is great they don't eat outside. They might have a barbecue at night sometimes but I mean people don't grab a cup of coffee and sit out and read a book. Or eat lunch. Some people don't have yards (or as they say-gardens) big enough for that but those that do don't do it. I miss this a lot too!!
When they do sit out for "hannami" (drinking party under cherry blossoms) or go to the beach they use these blue plastic sheets to sit on. I remember the first time I sat on one-I just got to Japan and my boss was sweet and took me many places and one day we went to the beach. It was sooooooo hot and humid that day but I thought maybe it would be ok because we had a big umbrella to sit under BUT we sat on one of these terrible blue plastic sheets. Talk about uncomfortable!! It's plastic....on a hot day....on the sand so I was sweating like a pig on that thing and sand was being rubbed in even more due to the plastic....I didn't not enjoy myself! At "hannami" they use the sheets on hard dirt....again, not comfortable. I don't know about you guys but when my family went to the beach or a picnic we used old blankets and big big towels to lay on. My one student was shocked when I said that. I did explain that the blanket's only purpose at that point was to be a beach blanket....it's not like we went home and put it on our bed!
The one good thing here in Japan is the summer food. They have cold tofu dishes, cold noodle dishes, "kakigori" (snow cones) everywhere oh and many summer festivals. After almost 11 years though, I still have to say that I hate Japanese summers!! And if you aren't used to this kind of weather...never visit Japan in the summer!