August 29, 2009

The Anatomy of August: Part I

Summer in Japan means festivals, Obon holidays, swimming at the beach, watermelons, intense sunshine and heat, and sipping cold beer in frosty mugs while the cicadas are chirping noisily—all fantastic things. I am pretty much always in a great mood during this season: a walking, talking, and annoyingly cheerful Beach Boys song. So it’s not a startling revelation to state that I love summer, revel in it, can’t get enough of the sun and the warmth. August has passed incredibly quickly and I prefer to be outside rather than at the keyboard. Still, here are some of the reasons why summer is the greatest season:

Family Pools
The easiest way for the Rising Family to escape the heat is to head out to a community pool. These facilities usually feature a waterslide, a wading pool for the wee kiddies, and a long, narrow one-directional ‘lazy river’ pool with high pressure water jets to keep the water – and throngs of people – going round and round. During the school summer holidays from late July they are usually really crowded, even on weekdays. I’ve had a lot of time off work due to reduced working hours this year, so we have used that time to explore new recreation places. It’s easy and relatively cheap to spend a full day at these waterparks. During August we visited four of them in the city and surrounding region.

What’s summertime without some fiery streaks of light, tremendous booms, and colorful barrages of color that assault the eye? We went to see the Ujina fireworks (in the south end of Hiroshima city) at the end of July with some of my co-workers. Lady E. enjoyed the spectacle with her friend from pre-kindergarten class.

Naomi’s dad is a gentleman farmer, and as a result we are the grateful recipients of a steady supply of fresh vegetables and rice from the family farm. In August, this equates to a lot of truly delicious watermelons that are so big we have a hard time fitting them in our fridge. As you can see, Lady E. is big fan. Watermelon is our official Taste of Summer®.

Shimonoseki & Doigehama
Another rite of summer is a trip to the beach. As I have noted our other aquatic adventures in various posts in this blog, it’s no surprise to ya’ll that we went to the beach a few times. One of our favorite places is a place called Doigehama. It’s a small but clean beach about 150 kilometers west of Hiroshima, facing the Japan Sea. We spent one day there. Lady E seemed to enjoy herself in the water with us, flopping around with water wings on. Also, for the first time she took an interest in building something in the sand.

We also spent a day exploring Shimonoseki, a small city in Yamaguchi Prefecture not too far from Hiroshima. The Shimonoseki Kaikyo Yume Tower dominates the Shimonoseki skyline. It’s a nice weekend destination, and the fresh seafood at the open market is outstanding. See for more information if you’re inclined.


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