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Summer vacation

Obon vacation came and went by in a flash. I wouldn’t have minded having another week or two.

I was supposed to go home this year, using my vacation days, and fly back to spend some quality time with my friends and family, but because of the pandemic these plans have been overturned and I’ve had to stay here. But I did get out of the house for a bit.

The first day was spent cleaning and organizing a bit in our stock closet, thanks to (finally) reading this manga by Yururi Mai, I wanted to turn out the whole apartment, but satisfied myself with the closet (for now).

I got this in December last year as I had just moved in with someone for the first time, but it took me until now to actually get to reading it.

Day 2 we went on a drive over to Gunma prefecture to see this beautiful old historic house, a dam, and to eat some himokawa udon (which I have found that I love!)

Day 3 I went on a date with my friend, and she let me drag her out to Daikanyama (where I had never been) to see a bookstore that according to a google search is one of the top 20 most beautiful in the world! It is called the Daikanyama T-site and it is spread over three connected buildings. They had a pretty big English selection too and the interior was gorgeous.

We also went to the Rikugien gardens for a nice (super hot) stroll.

Day 4 we celebrated a birthday with eel, cake, and fireworks.

Day 5 was spent just relaxing.

The last day, Sunday, we got up early and drove to the beach! I took my favorite novel with me, Jane Eyre, but it was too hot to do anything but cool off in the water. It was so hot that the glue must have melted because pages started coming out and I had to try and attach them with washitape when I got home.

It was a good little vacation, a breath of fresh air, before going back to work. Having gotten a day at the beach, I feel like summer is complete for me and that autumn is more than welcome to take its place. Dreaming of hot chocolates and scarves and sweaters and a chill in the air. Wrapping yourself in blankets and knitted socks. What a dream. A dream that feels oh so far away.

Sayonara rainy season

Last night, the night going into August 1st, I lay awake and listened to the rain. It came on suddenly and furiously, the winds whipping it against the windows, hitting the ground sounding like hail. Looking outside I saw the world enveloped in rain. The humidity was almost suffocating, even the air was turning into water.

Waking up on August 1st I was greeted by the sun and blue skies. Any trace of the previous night’s rain gone. Last night was the rainy season wrapping itself up, presenting us with summer nicely tied in a bow to be opened on the first day of August.

It feels like the cicadas have spring to life overnight as well. An endless chorus of their chirping, blending into the background until you barely notice it, forgetting almost the source of the noise. The sound of summer.

I’ll admit it is bittersweet to say farewell. The rainy season isn’t all bad. I don’t mind a rain shower here and there, preferably at night with accompanying thunder, but constantly feeling wet and clammy gets tiring pretty quickly.

With summer incoming, while it does bring a certain lightness, brighter days, sunshine, and not to mention vacation, it also brings a heat like no other. As a viking I am not equipped to handle temperatures above 25 degrees celsius. Japanese summers bring temperatures well above 30 daily. Me and Japanese summers do not go hand in hand, but unfortunately we can’t skip them. I enjoy some summery things, but I am looking towards autumn to soothe me after what will surely be another sweltering summer.

Summer reading

For me, summer meant summer vacation, (we had two whole months), which meant lots of time for reading. Sitting outside in the garden or on a friend’s veranda or at the beach with a book in my hand enjoying life.

Now that I am working here in Japan I effectively have no summer vacation, but I have noticed that my appetite for reading has gone up considerably the last month and I am finishing books at an almost alarming rate (I am not complaining though).

Here in Japan it is mostly autumn that is closely associated with reading. They say 読書の秋 (dokusho no aki) which means something like “the autumn of reading”. They actually have this thing called 〇〇の秋 where you input a two-kanji compound word to reflect what autumn is about to you. So another popular one is 食欲の秋(shokuyoku no aki) which is “autumn appetite” as autumn vegetables are so delicious here so people spend a lot of the autumn just eating (and reading).

Anyways, for me it’s summer, so I guess it’d be 読書の夏 (dokusho no natsu) instead.