Friday, June 22, 2007

Tsuyu time

So the rainy season is finally getting underway. It's a little late this year, and it may last anywhere from 2-4 weeks (depending on who you ask). Longer in other areas, I think, but if Gifu has anything going for it at all, it's that we don't tend to get as extreme weather as some of the rest of Japan.

Japan has two rainy seasons - one through June and one through October. Last October's tsuyu was virtually non-existent. Two weeks ago, someone told me that tsuyu would be starting soon. Last week, after one day of rain, I was told that the Japanese weather people had declared tsuyu officially underway. But we had sunny and heat and humidity all week until today. It's supposed to rain through the weekend. But even when I ask, I am told, "Oh, no...real tsuyu will be much heavier rain and much more humid." Sounds marvelous.

Rainy day
Castle and mountains, gone.

Anyway, this post is just an excuse to show off how fashion-conscious I have become since coming to Japan. I learned long ago (from my days in Halifax) that when it rains steadily and hard all day, there's just no real way to keep dry and be stylish at the same time. I have taken to bicycling to school in a raincoat with hood, and oh-so-chic plastic pants.

She's got legs...and knows how to cover them.

It's a great look, I know. My old plastic pants were transparent, but this new pair is even better since I can hide the fact that I'm actually wearing a skirt underneat (which I am in this picture). Which means I don't have to be ladylike about pedalling to school in a skirt in the rain. Because no one can tell. I love it.

The Japanese way of cycling in the rain, however, astounds me.

Japanese cyclist
Abunai! (Danger.)

This lady is not wearing any rain gear at all, and is just holding her umbrella above her head with one hand, and steering her bike with the other. I see people doing this all the time. And what really gets my goat is that, no matter how hard it is raining, and no matter how wet and dripping yours truly is, these umbrella-wielding fools arrive at their destination DRY. I've tried to bicycle like this and refuse to do it anymore - it's dangerous as hell. I can barely pedal in a straight line with both hands on the handlebars, let alone just one and the other precariously holding an umbrella in high winds. Honestly, there's many better ways I can think of by which to die. No thanks!

Flooded roof
Flooded roof next door.


Eriotto said...

Guess which part of Japan is hardly affected by the rainy season!

julie said...

hahahahahahahaha, say it's not so!!! ...Well, I'll take my 3 weeks of rain over your 6 months of snow anyday, Homie!

Eriotto said...

Oh yeah. I never thought of that.


Mark Reynolds said...

Here in France, I'm constantly amazed the cyclists seem to be divided into the "bikes while smoking" and "bikes while on cell phone" with a minority that somehow manage to do both.
I've also seen guys in three piece suits biking with umbrellas. Me, I like to keep my hands on the conveniently located hand grips, padded for my comfort.