N is for 夏

N is for natsu, or the Japanese word for Summer. It’s hard to talk about Japan without talking about summer. The smells, sights, and sounds of the season are distinct. Shaved ice, night markets, greasy foods on a stick –– while American county fairs are for a couple of weekends in July, Japan celebrates summer for a full three months.

Kyoto is one of the most humid places I’ve ever lived, and that’s saying a lot for someone born in the Bayou. It’s hard to walk out of your house mid-summer and not feel like you’re slogging through a miasma of your own sweat. Cicada are loud enough to deafen you, and the roads radiate heat. Mosquitos make any sort of outside activity rather difficult: you either sweat or you get bitten.

However, Japan has plenty to help you stave off the discomfort with activities, beaches, rivers, and fireworks. Theme parks even have walk-in refrigerators. And a vending machine is always right around the corner. Though I hate the humidity, I will definitely miss summers in Japan.

Images hosted on Flickr. 

2010-09-17 at 23-24-20

https://flic.kr/p/obcSqF

Tokyo I

https://flic.kr/p/ourSai

Tokyo II

Tokyo I

https://flic.kr/p/obcqp3

Tokyo I

Tokyo I

Tokyo I

2011-08-13 at 00-05-07

https://flic.kr/p/nHfXvA

https://flic.kr/p/nZDmSb

https://flic.kr/p/nZK6zX

51 thoughts on “N is for 夏

  1. I have neighbors from Japan. Three years ago his company sent him back to Japan for two years with the promise they could return here. They closed up their home, found someone to keep an eye on it and went home. Last Spring they returned here and I am wondering why they would leave such a beautiful place. Your photos make it look heavenly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is wonderful, but I’m really discovering that every place is what you make of it. People can be really creative with how they spend their time… you just have to find out where they go!

      Like

  2. As usual, an intriguing selection of photos … but the goldfish in the plastic bag really caught my eye 🙂

    Memo to File … avoid Japan during humidity season. I become a melting unhappy mess.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The goldfish have a funny story behind them. In Japan, they use these little flat nets that have paper stretched across them. Usually they break before you can get even one fish with them (keeps the street market games fun), but for some reason, I was able to catch ALL of those fish with one net. The guys kind of regretted giving me a free go! Haha.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the fireworks and the boats on the water. Not sure about the greasy food on sticks! I’m a veggie and this is one of the things keeping me from visiting Japan. Do you think I’d survive?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, you definitely could! They have a lot of fish and meat stuff, but also a ton of vegetarian stuff. You’d have plenty of interesting things to try… but you might have a hard time eating a regular salad.

      Like

        1. No, Japan is a little better about it. As long as you use the word for vegetarian, they understand (Buddhism is still a big thing here.) PS, that word is: sai-shoku-shu-ghi-sha. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    1. The fish can be filled with red bean paste, white bean paste, or custard. They’re super yummy! As far as the bananas… yes, they were quite… a-haha.

      Like

  4. Lovely, lovely, lovely! Especially the first picture, with the large “stepping stones.” Where was that taken?

    Curious about that fish-shaped snack you had in another photo. My first thought was a cookie, but I’m not too sure…

    I’m not a huge fan of summer myself, mostly because of the heat and humidity (and insanely high electric bills because of air conditioning). But I like how most summer mornings are still cool enough to go for a walk.

    Like

    1. That was taken on the Kamo River. It’s the main river through Kyoto. 🙂 As for as the snack, that is called “Taiyaki” and it is a red bean paste/white bean paste/custard-filled, grilled pastry. It is so good! ^_^

      Electricity bills are so cheap here! But that’s because we don’t use central heating. I could keep my air conditioner going all summer, all day, and my bill would only be about $120.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Humidity is always much worse than pure heat. Middle of Africa in the afternoon is hotter than a hot thing on a hot day in Hottesville, but the humidity the coastal regions is much less bearable.
    Wonderfully evocative photo’s as usual.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! And yeah, I agree. California is always about ten degrees hotter than Kyoto at any given time in summer, but you don’t feel it there because it’s dry and windy. Here it’s humidity you can feel weighing you down, and stagnant air.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha. Yes. I don’t miss them either. Except the swimming part. But I don’t think the river held up (silt deposits) enough to still be enjoyed in that way.

      Like

    1. Yeah… I am going to preempt cravings by buying a waffle iron with a taiyaki extension before we head back. I can’t not have this in my life, haha.

      Like

    1. I think every city needs one. It was stocked with oversized fish and ice cream to complete the effect, haha.

      Like

  6. Born in the Bayou? No wonder you are used to humidity. I can’t stand it. Although I must say no humidity might be worse. When I was travelling through Death Valley once and stepped out the car, I could feel the moisture in my body getting sucked away into the air!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve never really consaidered Japan’s climate before. Sounds like swimming in soup. I spotted the swans. Don’t know if you have these cultural icons in The States but turn the clock back to the 1970s and there were rubber swans made out of old tyres and painted white. Not everywhere but common enough. You see, Australia does have its cultural icons after all! xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.