Today is a national holiday and officially the Autumn Equinox 秋分の日 in Japan. While the first day of fall may be September 21st in North America it comes two days later in Japan. I’m not sure why that is, but I’ll happily take the holiday (no time off work in Canada).
Fall is here (it’s 28C outside) and summer has said goodbye for another year.
That makes me happy. There are some good aspects of summer in Japan, but in my opinion, the negatives outweigh the benefits. I say this as a “Pro-fall” kind of guy. I say this as a relatively “Anti-Summer” kind of guy.
I assume that summer in the northern prefecture of Hokkaido would be quite lovely for someone like me, but in the Kansai are of Japan, it’s a long, hot and humid event!
Let’s take a look at some of the things I will be happy to say goodbye to with regards to summer in Japan and some of the things that will be a little harder to say goodbye to!
Things I’ll miss about summer:
Summer Festivals (祭) – These are so much fun. Every city and neighborhood in Japan has at least one. In my small neighborhood in Kobe there are several near the end of the summer. Great dancing, amazing food stalls, beer, games for the kids and so many happy people. There’s nothing my wife and I love more than dressing our children in their jinbei 甚平 and heading out to a summer festival!
Pictures I tok this past summer at a local neighborhood summer festival in Kobe, Japan.
Watermelon – Watermelons are ripe and ready to go all summer long. They are a true symbol of summer in Japan and a cold piece of watermelon or “suika” is a great way to beat the summer heat. Watermelon smashing “suika wari” スイカ割り is also a fun game kids play at summer parties. It’s much like piñata smashing!
Fireworks – Summer is fireworks 花火 season in Japan and Japan does it right. Most major cities have incredible fireworks displays. People show up by the tens of thousands to enjoy them. It’s festival atmosphere. People spread out picnic mats and enjoy drinking alcohol and eating. It’s also a great time to see many young women wearing their summer kimonos known as yukata 浴衣 .
Crushed/shaved ice – A popular summer treat, kakigori かき氷is a favorite of both children and adults alike!
Things I won’t miss about summer:
Wet Armpits – With the nasty humidity in this part of Japan my shirts are always soaked with sweat. Once upon I time I was self-conscience about that. I gave up a long time ago and accept the fact that I need to bring one or two changes of clothes to work every day during summer.
Being Grumpy – being overheated and uncomfortable at all times makes me grumpy. I don’t like that!
Sky-high Power Bills – The power bill at my house during the peak summer months is more than double whet it is in the fall or spring. Our air conditioning units are working overtime. With small children in the house, you have to make sure they are comfortable. I’m happy that we are all comfortable, but when the bill arrives…EEEEEK!
Grumpy colleagues – I’m not alone in my misery. Most of those around me feel the same way!
Lack of appetite – When I am overheated I just can’t enjoy food. This especially happens after my cycle commute home after work. When I get home I normally can only finish about half of my dinner and then I feel sick.
Sweaty commutes – I cycle to work everyday. I love cycling to work, but it can be hard when it’s 40+C with the humidity.
Lethargy – when I’m too hot and sweaty I don’t feel like doing anything or going anywhere.
Fall is now here and all of us sweaty folks who call Japan home can rejoice!
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Listen to the Just Japan Podcast…of course!
One thing Ive never seen mentioned much is why do Japanese houses/units/etc
not use Solar Panels for Electricity and hot water ?
Would that make more sense to invest into Solar to offset grid power expense ?
In Japan, I much prefer the fall myself, but that might be because I arrived in summer and was so happy to see the fall arrive that first (hot and sweaty year).