Summer and the Obon Holidays in Japan. Take care everyone.




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Summer and the Obon Holidays in Japan. Take care everyone.

After a surprisingly long Tsuyu (Late Spring Rain) season in Japan, the country finally welcomes Summer proper. Summer is the hottest season and in Japan it is usually celebrated with summer holidays for school, trips to the nearby water park/ beach and plenty of Kakigori (Shaved Ice) and Suika (Watermelon), all in the name of fending off the intense heatwave while attempting to enjoy this mini break.

It's difficult for me to finish a watermelon alone, so here, watermelon bread.

This year, of course, summer is somewhat dampened largely due to the Coronavirus, but on the bright side people are spending less time outdoors as a result of the virus or the heat, and whichever the case, the more time spent indoors is great as the country attempts to fend off the virus as well as the usual heatstroke cases.

Heatstroke is no joke for those who are unfamiliar with the climate of Japan. In summer, temperatures soar and average around 37-38 degree Celcius. This year, I have heard reports of days with temperatures above 40 degrees. The temperatures have already set new records and we have but in the first half of summer. Yearly, people of all ages and profiles fall victim to heatstroke, and unfortunately the heat has claimed lives in Japan every year for the past decade. (Not yet for this year, if I have read correctly, at least for that we can be thankful.)

If you are reading this, please remember to hydrate yourself frequently and just try not to go outside if you can help it.

Summer is also the season of the Obon Festival.

Obon お盆 is a traditional Buddhist festival. It is roughly a week long, and in that period it is believed that the spirits of the ancestors will return to visit their living relatives.

Like many other ancient rituals and traditions, this has evolved to be more of an excuse really for the living, especially the young working adults to go back to their hometowns and visit their elderly relatives. It has become of the three bigger holidays in Japan, along with the New Years holiday and May's Golden Week.

For those who are more acquainted with Japanese literature, ahem, anime and manga, this is where you have young urbanites going back to their grandparents rural traditional houses and complaining about the heat while enjoying their slice of watermelon. This is the reason.

This year, however many have heed the local governments warnings to try not to go home, and for those of us foreigners we can't go home at all because if I were to leave Japan now I would not be able to re-enter next week anyway.It is not the most pleasant of summers, but in exchange I'm sure we could also enjoy just lazing around and throughly resting from the usual rigours of work.

Once again, stay safe and drink more. Look forward to summer 2021!
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I'm an aspiring architect pursuing/living my dream of working in Japan.
I work in Tokyo, but live across Futagotamagawa in Oakhouse Kajigaya, Kawasaki.

Working in Japan is hard, but there's lots of opportunities to play hard as well.
I hope to share a little of my experience with everyone through this blog.