August 16, 2010

Top 11 Things I Love About Summers in Hiroshima

To those people who are hostile to high temperatures, a.k.a. heat haters and humidity humbugs, here are 11 reasons to get with the program and learn to love Hiroshima’s summer sizzle:

1. It’s hot because it’s summer, stupid. DAMN hot. And I LOVE the humidity and heat. (Try an Ottawa winter, and you’ll understand why.)

2. Chirping cicadas: the din of these singing bugs wakes me up in the morning and lulls me to sleep at night. The buzz, however, lasts all summer.
This little beauty can really bust out the insect jams

3. Fireworks: huge booming explosions and arcs of color lighting up the night sky. Picnics outside with the kids in tow--sold! I am delighted by the growing pleasure I see in my oldest daughter’s eyes as she learns how much fun it is to blow stuff up, or watch it being blown up.

4. Tranquility: average people are lounging on park benches, or in the shade of trees, and pondering the sky and clouds. Daydreaming! Very trivial, unproductive—thus wonderful to see. A short period of the manana mindset in Japan?

5. Gulping watermelon: a summer staple of our diet. Cheap, cold and refreshing. A constant supply of home-grown watermelon in August from my father-in-law brings us juicy, sticky joy.

6. Family pools: escaping the heat in the overflowing family pool complexes. A satisfying way to play all day long in the water. The kids seem to enjoy it, too.

7. Yukata and other summer clothing: it’s too hot for regular apparel, so you opt for light fabrics. Also, less coverage=bonus for middle-aged men.

8. The smell of burning mosquito coils: nothing else says summer like the familiar, acrid smell of a burning mosquito coil’s insect-repelling vapors.

9. Sitting on my balcony very early in the morning, sipping ice coffee, absorbing the humid stillness.

10. The red meatball. Ever wonder why the flag of Japan has a red circle in the center? It’s the sunset. Evening sunsets here are spectacular.

11. Summer is the planet’s sweet spot. The 11th thing I love about summers in Hiroshima is the hot brew of: a long vacation, going commando, camping, BBQs with friends and family, sweaty tropical nights, and the flavor of lime green popsicles and the ocean. Summer simply kicks the ass of the other three seasons.

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