日本の夏は4ヶ月もあるの!?ニュージーランド人からみた夏のにびっくり!Summer in Japan is four months long!? and other Summer Surprises!

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Hi there everyone!

Even though I lived in the Kanto area for Japan for 14 years now there’s one season I can’t seem to get used to. One season that brings out a little bit of fear each year when it approaches.

Yes! It’s summer!!

Japan’s summer is unique, filled with surprises and lot’s of wonderful things too.

Summer starts in May!?

Japan’s summer lasts for half a year!?

I can’t quite explain it, but every year in May and little bit before Golden Week starts our family starts water and pool play.  Yes in May!

Auckland’s mid summer has average average temperatures of a nice 24-26 degrees celcius, with hot days sometimes hitting 30. That’s why, when the temperature reaches 25 degrees, for an Aucklander like me, that means… SUMMER!!  Thus pool and water play begins! I think that the Kanto area reaches 25 in May and then stays above that until the end of September and sometimes until the very beginning of October! So by my definition, Summer lasts for over 4 months!

Summer brings lots of surprises in Japan! When I first arrived one big thing that really gave me pause was:

Summer officially starts on Umi no Hi (Marine Day)

According to the Japanese calendar, Umi no Hi falls on the 3rd Monday in July… yes, mid July when the temperatures have already reached 33 or 34 degrees! I was so surprised that summer was officially decided not by the temperature, but by a day! Many facilities  summer vacations (kindergarten, schools etc) the public pool opening, the air conditioning in buildings and trains, the change to summer uniform etc, was all decided by that day.

As global warming means hotter and earlier summers year after year, some public facilities and  business have adapted. 14 years ago however, when I first came here it was quite different! The public pool still however doesn’t open early even when the temperature rises..

Other surprises I had during my first Summer in Japan :

A thing they call moushobi (super extremely hot day). Temperatures can hit 45 or 46 degrees over in Saitama where I live. I think, when the temperature gets this high, it’s dangerous to go outside right!?

I was surprised by not only the temperatures but the humidity! My body was surprised most of all, and I felt tired often. I learned about a phenomena called natsu bate, Summer tiredness.  After trying to recharge my batteries by eating some light flavoured summer noodles my friend exclaimed she was visiting an onsen during her summer vacation. An onsen is a natural thermal bath or resort area and yes it’s hot! I couldn’t believe this heat she was going on a trip to get into hot baths!

I’ve realised chilling out in an air-conditioned room  eating ice blocks is perfect for me.

Oh but the surprises keep coming!

I remember when I saw a woman wearing long sleeves in the middle of summer! I when straight and asked my friend about it. She explained that it was more for UV protection or protection from sunburn than it was about fashion. Thinking back to the crazy UV rays over in NZ I realised that SLIP SLOP SLAP was recommended.  From long sleeves to summer kimono: the yukata. One year I was lucky enough to attend the Sumidagawa Fireworks show in the middle of summer. I was really amped and wore a yukata got the zori sandals and everything.. but even though the yukata was totally beautiful it was also totally hot and sticky. So hot and sticky in fact that I couldn’t concentrate on the fireworks at all and was busy fanning myself and wiping the sweat from my neck and….ankles ..ugh To this day I get a faint feeling of horror when someone suggests wearing yukata in summer…I’m kidding! Sort of..

Talking about sweat, I had big problems trying to find antiperspirant that actually worked in summer. Japan sells as many types of deoderant as you wish to imagine, however effective anti-perspirant, until recently has been like finding hens teeth!

I ended up buying one from an overseas shopping site. I guess that Japanese people don’t sweat as much as us Kiwi’s…??

Japanese summer has beauty and excitement.

Japanese summer festivals: omatsuri, have an amazing and powerful atmosphere. Happy faces, interesting stalls and things for sale, Japanese drums, women in yukata with beautiful hairstyles, bon odori dancing, omikoshi hand lifted wooden floats. The feeling of oneness is so nice and it’s such a great chance to really feel many aspects of Japanese culture in one hit!

There’s one summer item that I just can’t be without, that I would like to talk about. The Japanese fan! The kind that folds and fans open and fits into the palm of your hand. In Saitama where I live, there is a distinct lack of sea breeze and wind in general for that matter! My fan comes in very handy during the summer months and cools me down on the spot! Actually I purchased it about 9 years ago before having kids. Bought together, along with a parasol, the fan has really come in handy and is so compact!

Lastly, the ever changing menus of the Japanese convenience stores, restaurants, and family restaurants and very fun and interesting, but nothing catches my attention more that the ‘limited edition summer menu’!  Year after year, getting to eat delicious summer fruits and vegetables included in special summer menus, along with chilled soba and udon noodles really makes me feel like summer has come.  I love the Japanese eel, unagi on a donburi of rice with the special sauce, and summer limited edition chuhai alcoholic drinks!

There were many surprises for me when I first experienced summer in Japan, but there were many beautiful, yummy and fun things too.  I’m slowly becoming used to the summer that lasts for four months!





Golden Weekから夏か?日本の夏は四ヶ月もあるの?








少しずつ、世界的に温度の変化が起きて、日本でも早めに冷房を使う、早めに夏制服に。。というところが増えてますが、未だに市民プールは海の日あたりから営業開始。 笑



温度と湿気にびっくりした。体もびっくりした!夏バテの意味わかるようになって。さっぱりもの食べたがりたいベタベタの夏。っと友達話したところ”温泉旅行いくんだ”。。なんだと!? 夏で温泉旅行!?すごすぎる 笑



長袖着てる方。。長袖ですょ!っとお友達に聞いたところ、”UVカットのために着てるんだ”と言いました。確かに紫外線半端ないニュージーでもSLIP SLOP SLAPですね。。長袖から。。伝統文化っといえば夏の着物:浴衣。浴衣は隅田川花火大会へ浴衣着て行きましたが、美し浴衣なのに、暑すぎて、汗だけになって、花火より暑さを気にしてたのです。苦労して、浴衣は怖くて着れなくなりました (半分冗談)。

汗の話しのですが、最初日本に来たとき、わきの下に塗る、汗完全にブロックするAntiperspirantがなかなか手に入らなくて大変だった!笑 可愛いらしい香のスプレーデオダラントはいくらでも売ってたのですが、パワフルのブロックするものは海外通販サイトで購入しました。あれ?日本に皆さんはあんまり汗かかないのかしら?っとびっくりした。






一年中、日本の飲食店、コンビニ、ファミリーレスなどで変わり続くメニューですが、夏限定メニューは他の季節よりどうしても引っかかります~ 旬の野菜、果物を使ったメニューは年に重ねて、食べると”夏が来たね” とうれしくなります。さっぱりしたそば、うどんは夏にぴったり!うなぎも、夏限定味酎ハイも大好き(笑)













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