Early summer is the rainy season in Japan and this year it came about 20 days early, arriving in the second half of May. The average arrival date in Kanto (Tokyo, Odawara and surrounds) is June 8 (very specific I know, but weather and seasonal date prediction seems to be a bit of a fine art in Japan). Global warming and crazy climate change? Who knows… But the warm days we had in early May got a bit cool again and we had more or less non-stop rain for a bit over a week. Today is very warm – heading for high 20s I think, and already 26 in my office.
The rainy season is known as tsuyu in Japanese – literally meaning plum rain, as it coincides with the ripening of plums. We don’t have any plum trees to show off, but we do have plenty of hydrangeas (ajisai in Japanese) that have taken their cue from the weather and transformed from rather ugly and angular bare sticks into fine displays of fresh green leaves and bluey-purple flowers.
Keira is mildly disappointed we don’t have pink hydrangeas and I have mildly thought about messing with the soil pH to tweak the colour, but I rather the like the blue ones and in any case all along our river we have plenty that have quite a dramatic mix of colour so we get to enjoy those too.
When it rains heavily, our back garden path gets submerged and becomes a rocky swimming pool, which I quite like to watch in the heavy rain. Fortunately it drains away by itself quickly once the rain stops – allowing us to get on with the endless tasking of weeding! (And yes, unsurprisingly those weeds do seem to love all this heat and water).