Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Not so much the heat, it's the gosh darn humidity.

You know the saying "the calm before the storm?"

The aforementioned calm.
We're in the middle of that, though it would have been nice if someone had prefaced that calm includes mind-scrambling humidity along with calm skies.  People don't even wait at crosswalks here - they wait in the shadows cast by nearby trees so as not to stand in the direct sunlight and turn into human raisins.

Until that light turns green, I shall wait here in the shadows.  Like Batman.
(I'm batman.)
(no I'm not, but wouldn't that be awesome?!)
I have reached a point of being legitimately mad at the weather.  I know weather is a non-human entity without emotions or blame.  But I yell at it in the mornings when I first walk outside and my hair instantly frizzes.  I curse at it as I walk to the train station and feel buckets of sweat pooling at the small of my back from a 5 minute walk.  And earlier today when I realized I had rubbed my upper-lip raw from my "sweat towel*," I flipped the heavens a double-bird.  Much to the confusion of the Japanese folk milling about me (who seem, by the way, to be totally unaffected by the swamp-consistency-air).

no caption needed.
*sweat towels are exactly what they sound like - washcloth size towels with pretty designs that everyone here carries in their back pocket to wipe away sweat-staches during the humid-months.  Outside that season, they also double as hand towels for when you use a public restroom that does not have any paper towels to dry your hands.  Which is every public restroom.  They're very handy, is what I'm saying, and I have two that I keep in rotation.

This past Saturday we celebrated Oktoberfest at the central city park.  Yes you read that right.  The "October" part is apparently lost in translation.  So we celebrated Oktoberfest in July, and watched a whole lot of Japanese people get incredibly drunk, because, hello, in this humidity you are dehydrated the second you walk outside your home, to say nothing of standing in the sunlight for hours dancing and downing beers like it's your job because it "keeps you cool."  I stuck to water, which is not because I fancy myself better than anyone at this event, but more because I'm old now and prefer not to feel like all those people felt the following morning.  It also meant I was sober to be able to fully appreciate a legitimate German Lady Yodeler preform.  Which was immediately followed by... THE CHICKEN DANCE.



It was like being back home in Wisconsin for Polkafest.  With more "Kompai"s**

**Kompai = Cheers!

Then Sunday The Mister and I headed out to a going away party for a few of our Mexican friends.  Fun fact: after we lived in Mexico for a year, we managed to end up in Japan at the same time as some of our friends FROM Mexico!  It was an interesting start to our time in Japan by speaking Spanish.  Let's be clear that any party with the Mexicans is a good time.  This party was an afternoon cook-out though, which meant we were in a park, in the sun, standing next to a lit grill for hours.  I was a few pounds lighter when we got home, which is pretty unusual for any party where Mexicans are cooking the food, let me tell you.  But sweat weighs a bit you know.

So I say all of that to set up that I am more than ready for the humidity to break already.  I would take anything in exchange.

Anything except maybe a typhoon.

Yeah, hey, so that's a thing that's coming down the pipeline.  Typhoon Nangka, which is part of a pack of Typhoon-level storms, has been gaining strength and barreling toward the Southern coast of Japan, and is scheduled to hit Nagoya later this week.  Sounds like a party.

Um... I wont' say I'm not a little bit nervous about the 'phoon.  If there's a silver lining for us, it's that the main storm will hit much further west of us, in Osaka.  We expect significant flooding and winds, but Osaka-area is bracing for... let's just say they're bracing for a not as good an outcome.

Then there's my awesome Japanese teacher, S-san.  Because instead of a normal lesson this week, she asked what I knew about Typhoons, and took the time to calm my fears and give me good prep advice.  The two biggest things she shared:

1.  As a part of the Nagoya Community, it is important to take responsibility for the safety of others during a storm.  Specifically this means that everything on our 11th floor balcony needs to come inside, because otherwise it will become a wind-borne weapon.  Since I use our balcony more like a garden instead of the traditional Japanese use of a place to hang laundry... our living room looks like a bit of a jungle at the moment.
Our indoor jungle, complete with screen door that feel off it's tracks
which is going to double as a Bubba-guard for the next few days.
On the plus side, the lavender is going
 to make our shower smell AMAZING.


2.  Go grocery shopping.  Sooner than Immediately.
I went to the grocery store straight after my lesson, didn't even stop back home to drop off books (that part was maybe a mistake in the hauling-everything-home department... but I "Hulked" it out).  The store was quickly filling with people intent on getting to the best produce before things were picked over and the storm took away options.  I ended up walking back past the grocery store later in the day with Mac, and witnessed people stuffing their cars full of dry goods and canned food like they had just left a Costco.  Let's remember this is usually a population that does daily grocery trips and keeps purchases in that department frequent, but small.

So now we've got a fridge stocked to its gills with foods (we don't really have a pantry, but what space is available on non-refrigerated shelves is also full).  Our living room is a recreation of the amazon, give or take a basil plant.  The Typhoon, if it decides to stay on schedule, will reach us Thursday night, and be gone by Friday afternoon.  Hopefully that'll be enough time to finish prepping for the house party that I was planning on prepping for ALL WEEK.  Woo!

How do YOU deal with humidity?  
Have you ever experiences a Typhoon?  
Tell me in the comments!

today's little language lesson
私の汗タオルはどこすか? 私の顔が殺到しています。
watashino ase taoru wa, doko desuka?  watashino kao ga sattó shitteimasu.
Where is my sweat towel?  My face has flooded.

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