Friday, March 1, 2013

First spring storm of year hits Tokyo, other parts of Japan | The Japan Times

First spring storm of year hits Tokyo, other parts of Japan | The Japan Times

Wow!  I'll say it did!  Yesterday started cloudy, pollen-y and fairly warm but ended with lashings of rain that drummed on our roof like the Hamamatsu Matsuri come two months early.  All last night and early this morning the wind made surprised gasps and never dropped below a low hum.  But at least it's sunny now.

People here love to tell me Japan has four seasons, meaning there are distinctions between each of them, especially compared to my home state of Georgia.  Especially in southwest Georgia, where we probably have two-- summer and winter, chopped into micro-seasons which the traditional season names can't quite describe.  In southwest Georgia, winter starts in December, sometimes gives way to an early spring just before Christmas, comes back in January, occasionally vanishes for a while in February, hits again in the middle of March.  Then a short spring giving way to a hot, humid summer that lasts well into September or even October.  After that, a very short fall.  As you move northwards, things become more calendar-ready.  Athens, for instance, has a long summer, but you know what season you're in as they change.  Fall and spring are especially inviting.

Here in Hamamatsu, the seasons last about two or three months each.  There are variances, of course, but they come regularly and with the same features each time.  There are names for these, but they're Japanese and while I hear them fairly often, I tend to forget them even when they'd come in handy.  Like now.  Windy winter, a brief turbulent transition to mild spring, rainy June, broiling summer, mild fall and the cycle begins again.  Included in the mix are hay fever season (right now the pollen counts are off the charts and I'm miserable), rainy season and various typhoons.  Oh yeah, and the weird yellow sky time when the wind from China blows fine desert grit all the way across the ocean and into the air here.

The strangest thing is the way the thermometer seemed to realize March had come yesterday.  Even though I had to stand outside for a long time yesterday morning, I felt pretty comfortable.  At least in my coat.  I sneezed about one thousand times.  By the time I left work in the early afternoon, I could have worn just a sweater.  Not true just a day before.

Now watch it turn freezing just to make me a liar.

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