I fucking hate summer in Japan.
Winter is, by far, the best season here. By a landslide. And yet, this is another thing that the Japanese just don’t understand about me (the fish allergy being #1 – “how can you not like fish? It’s so delicious? What? Allergy? You will die? …Blasphemy! Fish is made of nothing but rainbows and happiness.”). Why do you like winter? It’s so cold! And…it’s so cold! Did you forget about how cold it is?
Yes, winter is cold. Suck it up, you panzies. And its funny that I would say this, me being from California and all. Because when it comes to weather, Californians are absolute 100% pussies. We get all chilly and reach for our jackets when the weather drops to 70; meanwhile on the East Coast, people go outside wearing shorts and shit at -5, and laugh at those silly hippies. “Look at those guys, wearing coats in 70 degree weather and with their Terminator governor and shit.” The tradeoff is that while Californians are pussies when it comes to the weather, should the Earth start moving beneath us, we don’t really care unless the Richter scale reaches at least 7.
Anyway, back to summer. Summer in Japan sucks for a multitude of reasons. …What are those reasons? I’m glad you asked! Sit down and grab a Snickers because…well…y’know.
The heat itself isn’t really a problem. Japan actually doesn’t even get that hot. But maybe I have no perspective on this – I lived in the SoCal desert for a few years. Do you know what they call that region – Death Valley. Yeah, Death Valley. 115 degree days were nothing.
Despite this, Japan is worse because the humidity level is at like 2000%. You sweat simply because you exist. I think, overall, you would end up drier if you just jumped directly into a swimming pool, as compared to walking around outside in Japan for 5 mintues. While Death Valley was hot, it was dry hot, so it was much more bearable. Given the choice, I would gladly spend a summer in Death Valley over Japan.
…Y’hear that Japan? Your country in the summer is even worse than Death.
The humidity also means that, even when the sun goes down, the heat and mugginess stick around. And that shit is just not fair.
Perhaps this would be bearable if I were a single guy, and could run my air conditioner 24/7. And when I was a single guy, I did run my AC 24/7. That’s not even a joke, I just never turned it off. Why would I? Even when I wasn’t home, if I turned it off then, when I did come home I’d have to put up with my room feeling like Sticky Maple Syrup Death for however long it took for the AC to fix the problem. Funk that. Instant gratification – the second I crossed my doorway, I was greeted by a cool and dry temperature, and that shit was wonderful.
All of that goes flying out of the window however should the single guy start dating. Because Japanese women have some sort of mind-blowing allergy to air-conditioning. “It’s cold!” she burrs as she goes to crank down the AC to 28 (82 in F). Yes it’s cold, and that’s the point! Eat more meat, get more body fat, and maybe you will learn to appreciate it! God forbid you marry one, cause she won’t let you run it during the night, and you wake up at 4AM all hot and sweaty, and unfortunately not in the good way.
This is one area in which I sort of envy my female ex-patriot counterparts. While they may complain about being perpetually single here in Japan, the trade-off is that at least they get to run the shit out of their air-conditioners. Have an apartment as nice and frosty as the conditions between their legs.*
*Girls, don’t take too much offense to that…but if you ARE an expat female in Japan and you complain about having no sex life, yet you make no attempt to actually change this, despite the fact that unless you look like the bastard love child of Whoopi Goldberg and Danny DeVito you can pretty much go up to almost any guy and say “let’s have sex” and he will probably say yes….well, just know that I have no sympathy for you. None.
2. Japan’s “hidden” 5th season – biblical plague umbrellas.
Despite spring and summer supposedly being the best seasons of the year, rainy season happens to fall right between them. And while it doesn’t rain everyday, it rains just enough to make you think that God hates this country and wants to drown it under a saucy river of steamy sky water.
Now, the rain itself isn’t that bad. I actually like rain. Yes, I like winter, and I like rain. I’m special like that. What bothers me most about this season is the umbrellas. Maybe my memory isn’t that good, but as I recall, back in America the umbrellas only came out for substantial rain. It had to be enough so that you would be actually wet, and continue to be wet unless you changed clothes. Not for drizzling, or for the stuff that would get you moderately moist, but you’d be dry after 5 minutes indoors.
But Japan doesn’t play by these rules. Even the slightest inkling of rain will produce umbrellas. Even just the essence of rain is enough. Never mind that they are only outside for maybe 5 minutes in between the train station and work/home. No no, don’t want to melt in the nasty acid rain, gotta pop out that umbrella. Why do I care? Remember that Japanese people move in some sort of magical self-contained bubble, completely impervious to the outside world around them. Now factor in that umbrellas only serve to make their radius wider, and given the height difference, most Japanese people hold them at about my eye-level. …Yeah.
Maybe if it was just during rainy days, the umbrella hyper barrage would be tolerable. But you should know by now that that’s not the case, now is it? Japanese women also pop them out on sunny days. Y’know, don’t want to get skin cancer and all. No, wait, that reason would actually make sense, if this were Australia. (Regardless of the status of the ozone layer over this country, I think the dense levels of smog alone will stop UV rays, and anything short of Galactus coming to eat the planet. Even then, Galactus has a lot of smog to get through before he reaches Japan…) No no, they just don’t want to ruin their beautiful white porcelain skin with an ugly dark tan. As a member of a race who is permanently suntanned, I will refain from commenting too deeply on this. I will only say this – sunburn – how does that work out for you guys? Bwa ha ha ha ha!
Ahem. I digress. So the umbrellas come out on rainy days, sunny days…and overcast days! Yes, overcast days! I shit you not, it will be a cloudy day and there will still be women carrying umbrellas. As a preemptive strike against either outcome? What the hell I don’t even
So rainy season ends, and maybe one or two months later, we transistion nicely into…typhoon season! Sweet! And if you just thought “Well, surely Japanese people don’t carry umbrellas out in the typhoon!”, obviously you don’t live here. My favorite part of typhoon season is watching the news, and them showing the one person crossing the bridge with the umbrella that’s getting thrashed by the raw natural elements. This isn’t a recycled shot, they shoot this shot every year and show it I guess to shock and awe us over the power of the typhoon. And while I guess I should be worried about the mini hurricane, I’m always rooting for the typhoons to mangle as many umbrellas as possible.
3. Festivals suck ass.
So with the weather being so good (ha!), summer is prime festival season here in Japan. And that’s a good thing, right? An important part of Japanese culture? A fun event the whole family can enjoy? Wrong!
Festivals consist of little booths, where you can buy stuff like yakitori, yakisoba, takoyaki, whatever. Nevermind that you can buy these things almost anywhere at anytime, and here at the festival they are especially overpriced. Then they will have some summer-specific stuff like shaved ice, and maybe some games like the goldfish scooper thing.
And that’s about it. No, really.
They may have one of those shrine things, that either people will carry around on their shoulders, or will be situated in the middle of the street. But really, that’s about the extent of it. Of course, there are like eleventy billion people there. So you fight against hordes upon hordes of people to see a hand-held shrine and go buy some overpriced bar foods. While I can understand the novelty of it at first, I’ve been here for 7 years and it has become beyond repetitive. I would imagine that even the Penis Festival would get old at some point*.
*The funny thing about the Penis Festival, to me at least, is the hundreds of guys there with cameras to take pictures of girls eating penis-shaped candy and riding giant wooden phalluses (…Is Japan the only country where this sentence is even possible? I think so!). What exactly are you going to do with that picture? Show it to friends? “And this is a picture of some girl I don’t know riding atop a 5-foot wooden penis.” It just seems weird to me to grab your camera and head out to some country bumpkin town so you can take pictures of girls you don’t even know playing around with glorified dildoes in a non-sexual manner. I mean, wouldn’t downloading porn be a whole lot easier/faster/more satisfying? I mean…shit.
Summer is also prime time for fireworks festivals. Admittedly, the Japanese do put on a pretty good fireworks show. However, to get to said show, again you have to fight against a crowd that rivals the population of Bangladesh, kill two salarymen and an obasan to get a spot to sit on the ground, and then considering that everyone goes home at exactly the same time, take 2 hours just to get to the train station, and then watch as the trains move so slowly, it would be faster to just ride piggyback on an elementary schooler to go home. Can’t I just buy a Fireworks of the World Blu-Ray or something and eliminate the unneeded stress?
4. Show me the skin….oh, wait.
In most other countries, for us guys, summer means girls in tank tops and oh so short shorts. We may be hot and sweating, but hey, at least the scenery is nice. I suppose maybe the same is true for women? Hot guys shirtless and sweaty and shit? I don’t know, I won’t pretend to know how the female mind works. My impression of it is that its a direct opposite of the male mind. So if we men like seeing beautiful women scantily clothed, I imagine the female turn on being a guy in an apron offering to cook dinner, clean the house, and then sit down and have a talk about his feelings for the next three hours. That, or vampires who sparkle in the sunlight. It’s that kind of shit that makes the female mind so baffling.
Anyway, summer and skin. This is yet another area where Japan fails. Forget about tank tops, because Japanese women don’t show cleavage. Most of them don’t even have it, but the few that do don’t show it. In fact, its just the opposite – they’re so paranoid over getting tanned that they wear more layers of clothing than they do in the winter. Go figure that one out.
The shorts are the same story. They wear short skirts all year round, so summer isn’t anything special. Actually, I think the skirts get shorter in the winter. I have nothing other than my hunches to lay stake to this claim; but other guys I’ve talked to feel the same way. I would love to present some hard data as evidence, but I don’t think most women will allow me to go around measuring their skirt length. Maybe if I could find a way to involve giant wooden phalluses in the process?
If you are a guy and you want to see some summer skin, pretty much the beach is your last refuge. It’s actually a pretty damn good last refuge though. Hundreds upon hundreds of bikini-clad beach babes…yeah…
I’m sorry, I went away for a minute there. I’m back now.
Either way, I’m married, and all that eye candy is off-limits to me now anyway. For me, its kind of like overload. Imagine you’re on a diet – you might see a picture of a delicious cheesecake in a magazine or on TV or something, and you think “Mmm that’d be nice” but its not too bad. But then some friends take you to the Cheesecake Factory and they all order huge portions of cheesecake and they look like they’re having orgasms while eating it simply from the delicious taste of it, and you have to stick to your diet and not eat one single bite. At all. Or your wife will divorce you and you lose half of everything you own. That is why I don’t want to go to the beach anymore.
That paragraph probably only made sense if you are a married man.
Anyway. In conclusion. Between the horrible heat, shitty weather overall, overcrowded festivals and lack of any real redeeming qualities, summer is officially the worst season in Japan. Despite that, nearly every Japanese person will say “summer” if you ask them what their favorite season is. The reasoning? “At least its not cold.” And I thought Californians were bad when it came to weather.
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