Jun 1

Surviving in Japan: 40+5 more ways to survive the rainy season

Posted by Ashley Thompson (Shizuoka-ken, 2008-2010) of Surviving in Japan: without much Japanese and Lifelines columnist for The Japan Times.

Bleak, gray, rainy season, or 梅雨

The rainy season (梅雨, つゆ) has arrived.

Apparently beginning 12 days earlier than last year in central Japan, according to tenki.jp, and also earlier than normal in southern Japan as well. Though it doesn’t feel all that humid yet. I typically associate the rainy season with tropical jungle-like humidity that makes you feel like you’re living in a sauna.

Don’t be fooled though – it will likely sneak up on us before we know it. For now, my pregnant self will enjoy the moderate temperatures and bearable humidity levels.

Oh, and for those who may not know, it doesn’t actually rain constantly during the rainy season in Japan – it will either spontaneously downpour or sometimes rain for a while in variations between sprinkling and heavier rain, with some breaks here and there.

Before coming to Japan, being from Seattle (U.S.), I rarely, if ever, used an umbrella. In fact, it’s usually quite easy to tell the difference between locals and tourists in Seattle for this very reason. (Everyone thinks it rains there all the time, but it doesn’t – it’s just cloudy most of the year).

So I came to Japan with no umbrella, figuring I could just buy one somewhere easily (but in no hurry). Except that my friend and I got caught in the rain on our second day here. Not Seattle drizzle we were familiar with. A downpour. Sheets of rain.

As we were outside with no cover, we were instantly soaked (as if we’d fallen into a pool or something), and spent the next 10 minutes or so running from building cover to building cover to the nearest convenience store to buy an umbrella. (With bystanders laughing at us good-naturedly, of course).

Of course, by the time we bought the umbrella and walked out of the store, the rain stopped. That’s Japan for you. Everyone gave us strange looks when we entered the hotel again, dripping all over the floor. Lesson learned: During the rainy season, Always. Carry. An umbrella.

So, in honor of the arrival of this year’s rainy season, I pull from the archives:

40 tips to survive the rainy season in Japan

There are also some good suggestions in the comments, so be sure to read those as well!

And of course, a few more to add:

41. Forget number 4 on the previous list – with all the energy conservation we should be doing, go out instead and share the A/C instead of using it at home. (Although with the temps the way they are right now there really isn’t much of a need for A/C…) — CLICK HERE to read the rest of the post.

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