Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Won't Miss #15 - oppressive humidity (reflection)

Since coming home, the notion of running back to Tokyo has popped into my head more than a few times. In fact, I'd be surprised if it hasn't entered my mind about a hundred times by now. I'll admit it, I seriously miss the lifestyle. The idea of strolling around Asagaya late at night without a care in the world or hopping a train and going to some obscure train station just to explore remain as inviting to me now as they did then, perhaps even more so. There was a lot to love about the rhythm of life and the variety of experience there. However, if there are several things that put an onion in the ointment (as Grandpa Simpson would say), it's the horrific summer weather. The heat and humidity coupled with energy conservation measures make it nearly unbearable to be there about 4 months of the year and none too great for up to 6 months.

Living in the Bay Area in California, I experience very few days that are excessively hot or humid. Though I'd actually welcome more cold weather (and I never had a problem with Tokyo winters, except feeling that they were too short), I'm pretty blessed to be living where I am weather-wise. The boggy weather in Tokyo is enough to make me think twice about ever living there again, despite my fondness for many other aspects of being there. 


  1. I was raised a bit outside of San Francisco and have lived there for much of my life. We don't have the microclimate, though, so our summers are long and hot but very dry and sunny. People not raised in a humid climate in summer really have no idea what they're getting into the first time they experience it. I remember walking out of my apartment in Japan on the first hot day after my first rainy season and freezing up. The sensation of that weather was so alien to me that I actually thought I was tripping.

    I'm a warm-weather person, though, and I eventually started to like the summers there (but I never loved them there as much as I LOVE them here). What I never got down, however, was managing to look as put-together as others did. I was always a sweaty, frizzy, mascara-streaked mess, no matter what I did.

    1. I never liked hot weather, having been raised in the north east where coping with the cold was always more of an issue than the heat. I figure that you can always put on more clothes to get warmer, but you can only take off so much... and the humidity. Ugh!

      However, there are people who thrive in the warmth, especially if their body temperature runs lower than average (and the Japanese, on the whole, are about a degree lower than Western folks).

  2. I currently live in Tokyo, but I am counting the days to go back to Germany at the end of this year. "Oppressive" is the exactly the right term to describe the summer climate here. I always pictured it to be nice to escape Germany's notoriously grey skies and chilly summers, but this level of humidity all day and night for a couple of months has taught me to appreciate what I had more.

    For some reason, the extremes of the Japanese summer climate are not well known abroad. I have a hard time getting my friends back home to believe the extent of humidity and temperatures, until I tell then that Tokyo is on the same latitude as the northern Sahara, yet not as nearly dry ;-)

    1. One of my friends recently went to New Orleans where the temperature was in the low 80's, but the humidity was very high. He was raised in California where it can be hot, but is usually dry. For the first time, I think he truly understood how killer being in such humidity can be, even in relative tolerable temperatures. It's like living in a steam bath 24 hours a day.

      I'm glad to hear you can empathize so fully, though I feel bad that you're still living in the soup!


Comments are moderated and will not show up immediately. If you want to make sure that your comment survives moderation, be respectful. Pretend you're giving feedback to your boss and would like a raise when you're speaking. Comments that reflect anger or a bad attitude on the part of the poster will not be posted. I strongly recommend reading the posts "What This Blog Is and Is Not" and "Why There Were No Comments" (in the sidebar under "FYI") before commenting.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.