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How’s the weather? [Episode 1]

The weather is bipolar. One day its hot and humid. The next day there is a cool breeze and you need a jacket. The next day its raining cats and dogs and that frog from my favorite childhood book, Jump frog Jump.

After living in the desert for 6 years, you’d think I would welcome the warm blanket that is humidity but nah. Listen, most days I’m sweating before I even exit my cool cave. And for some reason, that I don’t understand, the bus drivers and passengers pretend that the bus isn’t reaching sweltering degrees. They sit with the air conditioner off, the vents closed and the windows closed. Everywhere is a stale, festival of BO.

I never enjoyed being outside more in my life. I appreciate the freedom of boundless potential space and dislike confined spaces even more. Yesterday, on the bus, it was so hot that sweat dripped down from my ear and fell on a dudes pants leg. As the producer of said sweat, even I was grossed out. But did they turn on the air? NO! Did dude complain about the person leaking above him? NO! What’s a girl to do?

One day, on another bipolar trip to work. It was coolish and humid outside. But when the bus pulled up you could see all the steam rising from the people and licking the windows. It was beyond hot on that bus. And there are no qualms about personal space in Japan. So everyone was packed in that bus like sardines. After looking around, I realized that all the vents, and I mean all the vents were closed. I opened one of them to find that the bus driver had kindly turned on the air conditioner. But could we feel it? No. I’m tall enough to notice a change in the amount of heat rising off the bodies. But no one looked distressed or uncomfortable. And I attribute that to the Japanese tradition of suffering in silence.

Some schools have a windows open policy where they keep the windows open year round. But not my school. They love to close the windows when even a hint of a breeze comes through. Every morning its warmer and warmer in the staff room and more and more I see the windows closed. A gentle breeze or gail force winds are Gods gift to hot people. Do they accept this gift? No. I always think that one day I will buy everyone paper weights and just open all the windows. Is it mean to want to glue them open? I think so. And I apologize for that.

At the University, they enjoy melting foreigners. I think their goal is to get one of us to pass out. Its always so hot in there. They are the opposite of Arizonians. Where peeps in AZ will blast the air conditioner so much that you need a blanket or sweater, they love turning the heat on or just allowing body heat to do the dirty work. They are unintentionally cruel. Each class I dream about opening a window. I’ve taken to sitting down so that I’m closer to the floor, just in case.

I don’t understand it. Winter was just as crazy. We all know and understand what the sun does right? Welp, in the winter when its cold out and snowing you’d think that people would appreciate the warmth that the sun produces. But this is not the case. Everywhere you look all the curtains are closed. What is the worlds fixation on light skin? Common sense says the sun will warm you up faster than that puff coat you have on. But I think I’ve figured out the secret to long life, in Japan. Limited to no sun exposure. This is just conjecture but I like to imagine that once Japanese people get enough vitamin D their bodies and minds automatically switch to protect mode. The umbrellas come out, the long sleeves, the skirts with pants or tights underneath and long socks, the sun visor that is more like a mask than a visor, the sun hats and just general skin covering comes out.

And finally, I want to share some incidents that ALT’s have told me about the coming summer months in Japan. I know that its about to get hot. But most recently, I’ve heard tales of just what that means. According to ALT’s, last year around this time the students began to faint from the heat. Schools are going to start cutting the school days down to half and sending students home. However, teachers will have to stay for the entire day. This is the time of year when ambulances are parked out front. Crazy right? Wrong, ‘its the Japanese way’.

This feels more like a rant than anything. I just wanted to talk about the weather.

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