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Rain, Rain Go Away: Surviving Hiroshima’s Rainy Season

Rainy season is coming! For those of you new to Japan and especially those who are unfamiliar with this kind of weather… let’s just say it will be an experience.

Rainy season or tsuyu is the part of summer that no one likes or appreciates, unless of course you’re a rice farmer or sake producer who needs it for both rice production and good sake. Oh, or a gardener who needs it for their beautiful summer flowers.

Apart from that, it’s a humid time of year which is intense and often causes you to feel irritable; irritable because you get wet and irritable because you want it to stop. Every year the weather forecasters predict how much rain we will get and also how long it will last. Like everything in Japan, they even tell you the day it will start and the day it will end. Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t always agree with their predictions and prefers to have its own guidelines.

Generally speaking, it precedes ‘proper’ summer and runs for a month and a half or so from the beginning of June to mid -July. Nevertheless, the longer you live in Japan, the more you may actually appreciate this break as the sunshine during summer is relentless. Here are a few tips, both general and specific to Hiroshima, to make your life a little easier and hopefully, more comfortable as well during this season within a season.

  1. Buy an umbrella and take it EVERYWHERE. Do not try to tell yourself that it’s sunny and doesn’t look like rain. It will rain and you will be the only one without an umbrella. Yes, they’re a pain to carry with you and yes, you will leave them somewhere (second hint: buy a cheap plastic one from Daiso or konbini) and need to buy another, but you will very grateful that you have it.
  2. Invest in a good pair of rain boots. Yes, I’m talking the rubber type that people in other areas of the world refer to as gumboots, wellies, rain shoes etc. Make sure they fit well and are comfortable. You will be wearing them a lot. In Hiroshima, one of the best places to go for a cheap (and in good condition) pair, is Book-Off, which is located between the Hondori and Fukuro-machi streetcar stops.
  3. Take an extra pair of socks or stockings with you when you go out. Even with rain boots you will find that the rain is extra sneaky and manages to slip inside and drench everything in sight. There is nothing worse than having to sit in wet socks all day, especially when the air conditioning is cranked up and makes you cold.
  4. Have a back-up plan if you plan on having a BBQ or want to do any sort of outdoor activity. In downtown Hiroshima you can escape the rain by using the handy underground Shareo mall and the undercover protection of Hondori.
  5. Breathe, try to stay cool, calm and collected (yes, even in the ridiculously humid weather) and don’t yell at everyone that annoys you. Tempers are easily tested during this season, but remember, it’s just a season and it won’t last forever.

If all else fails, summer is the season of beer and is the perfect way to drown your sorrows while you sit out the rainy season. Stay dry!
Photo by Takashi Hososhima (Mew, I’m ready for rainy season) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Jade Brischke

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