It actually translates to rainy season or monsoon season or typhoon season, depending on what dictionary or Japanese person you ask.
Serena says it translates to HELL DEATH HUMIDITY AND SCREAMING CICADAS.
It’s pretty much the worst thing about Japan, or at least the worst time of the year to be in Japan. It last from June to mid/late September. So, as I write this on July 17th I am stuck in the hell that is, tsuyu.
Now, I’ve lived in humid places and in hot places, but nothing, nothing prepared me for this. It is hot and humid, with that heat being around 30-40 C and the humidity around 80-100+%. You need gills to walk down the street.
Then there’s the screaming insects which begin at 6am. We get it, you’re bugs and you have one week of mating season. Get a new system.
On top of the fact that most Japanese people sweat very little and me with my Nordic ancestry sweat like a bloody waterfall I end up arriving at work and getting comments like, “Is it raining outside????” No, that’s just me… marinading in my sweat. Yes, it is disgusting. And itchy. And asemo!? In summer asemo afflicts over 20% the Japanese population, basically sweat blisters (so, the percentage that DOES sweat). Basically little blisters form under your skin in your sweat glands, until they explode and take your skin with them. My hands look like a lizard person’s.
So, how do the afflicted and sweaty survive?
Cool sheets – Ice packs that stick to your forehead, or hypothetically wherever else you stick ’em to. I keep them to my forehead, but hey you gotta cool what you gotta cool.
Cooling wipes – Indispensable since I wear shorts and t-shirt to work then change into “work clothes”. I pretty much end up naked in a bathroom and wiping down with these minty sheets that make your body feel like it’s been plunged in ice water. Bliss~
Cooling sheets – Since Japanese houses suck (Oh, boy! Is that another topic for another day) the inside of your house ends up becoming a sauna. There are special bed sheets and pillow cases you buy that suck heat off of you… they kind of work… for 2 minutes.
Supermarkets and a few other public places use central cooling, but most of the time you rely on wall units or electric fans.
I personally like to take a really hot shower and then soak in a scalding bath, because when I leave all burning and wet the moist-ridden heat around me is cooler than I am, finally.
Here’s to any season I don’t want to rip off my flesh.
Bonus: Husband is of the doesn’t sweat variant. This leads to AC wars. He’s too cold. I’m sweating. I told him he can put more on unless he wants me walking around nude, answering the door nude, and still complaining about how hot I am. I won~ Yay~ 26C at night when we sleep.