Thursday, August 17, 2006
Swimming through air
Japan is always so proud of its distinctive four seasons. Distinctive - definitely. Psychotically extreme - well, from an Australian point of view - let's just say Japan is being kind when it gives you roughly 4 weeks in between the two most vicious seasons of fucking hot and fucking cold.
For the last month or so, it's been unbelievably hot. The humidity is normally around 80 percent, and in Ono, the temperature generally peaks at about 38 to 40 degrees, which leads to a crippling dependence on air-conditioning. The nights are almost as bad, as it doesn't really cool down much, maybe 5 to 8 degrees. Sleeplessness is coupled with a general fug that blankets indiscriminantly, slows it down, in the vain attempt that you should not over-exert yourself, as exertion just leads to more sweat. Everything you touch stores heat. Your bed feels like you've left an electric blanket on for the past three months, and lying three inches from a fan does nothing to cool you, although it does provide enough white noise to block out the cicadas - another to add to the party of sleeplessness. Lying starfish and moving constantly lest you further warm parts of your bed, while the sweat leaks from every pore and refuses to evaporate does not promote a restful night.
Today it's not so hot. There's been typhoons hammering China and Okinawa, but they've not made it to this region of Japan. Typhoons, while somewhat unpleasant, do bring with them, one single day of blistering dry heat. The lead up is mugginess like I've never known before, and the day of rain seems never-ending, but the day after is crystal clear, fresh and renewed; the ever-present layer of smog and atmosphere is dissolved for a few hours. Just now, there's been a massive downpour and the smell is amazing. The air feels like it's almost solid and the smell of wet, rich earth just hangs in the hot dampness. The humidity, if were possible, seems like it should be over 120 percent. But the sky is open and blue and Ono is beginning to glow in the late afternoon light.