Photo: SoraNews24
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Summer in Japan doesn’t feel like a Japanese summer this year, many are saying

12 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

There’s room for debate on when the exact start of summer is. Maybe you go with the meteorological point of view that the first day of June is also the first day of summer, or maybe you follow the astronomy perspective that it begins with the summer solstice on June 21.

But I think we can all agree that by now we’re firmly into summer, which is why many people in Japan are surprised that they’re not seeing some traditional signs of the season.

Let’s start with what’s usually the first summer event of a given year that people in Japan look forward to: the hydrangeas blossoming, which happens in June, right as the country enters the rainy season portion of the summer. Japan loves seasonal flowers, and hydrangeas have the advantage of staying around longer than the famously short-lived cherry blossoms. This year, though, they came and went with sakura-similar swiftness due to record-setting heat and markedly less rainfall than usual. “I wouldn’t say the hydrangeas around here withered. I’d say they burned up,” said a Chiba Prefecture resident in a survey conducted by Japan’s Weather News organization, with another participant from Mie Prefecture remarking that the ordinarily vividly colorful petals “turned brown, like they’d gotten suntans!”

Moving on to something no one is personally missing, though, people in Japan have also been noticing far fewer mosquitos this year.

Ordinarily, mid-June is the start of a two-to-three-month period where if you spend more than a few minutes outside in a short-sleeved shirt, shorts, and/or open-toe footwear, you can expect to come home with fiercely itchy mosquito bits on any flesh that was exposed. This year, though, there’s been a lot less blood-sucking insect activity. Generally mosquitos are active when the temperature is in the range of 25 to 30 degrees Celsius. Once temperatures get higher than that, even the mosquitoes don’t want to be out and about in the heat, and will take refuge in the shade of trees and other leafy foliage. With many parts of Japan reaching daytime highs in the mid-30s this summer, even once the sun goes down it’s often still too hot for mosquitoes to go buzzing around, making their absence from people’s notice a 24-hour situation.

Mosquitos aren’t the only bugs associated with summertime in Japan, though. There’s also the cicada, whose buzzy whine serves as an aural reminder of the season as evocative as any summertime J-pop tune (though an appreciation for the cicada serenade is, as many expats will tell you, definitely an acquired taste).

While mosquitos are generally here throughout the summer, cicadas usually awake from their dormant state and start popping out of the ground once the rainy season is over. The early end to this year’s rainy season hasn’t translated into an early cicada appearance, though. That’s because, according to entomology professor Satoshi Kamiya at Kyushu University, cicadas don’t so much wait for the rain to stop as they wait for enough rain to have fallen, and the lack of precipitation, combined with intense heat, is keeping more of them in a dormant state than would be the case in an average year.

Though it’s too late for a hydrangea comeback, rainy forecasts for most of Japan for the next week mean we could be seeing a surge in summertime bugs, and “Japan summer!” atmosphere, soon.

Sources: Weather News via Yahoo! Japan News via Jin, Nishi Nippon Shimbun

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- The beautiful flowers of Hydrangea Temple: Possibly the best thing about Japan’s rainy season

-- Japan Meteorological Agency suspects rainy season may end earlier than ever this year

-- Singing, ticking timebombs – 5 facts about the special significance of cicadas in Japan

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

12 Comments
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Miss Japanese Summers

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Summer in Japan doesn’t feel like a Japanese summer this year, many are saying

hmmmmm, Let’s see……

it’s hot. It’s been rainy. It’s scorching heat out. I hear endless semi. It’s boiling under the sun. There’s most definitely bugs and mosquitos all over the place. It’s insufferably intolerably and freaking hot! I’m drenched in sweat just thinking about how high the temperature is now.

feels like Japanese summer to me.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Us too!, here in the Philippines it feels so different and it really changed nowadays.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I think rainy season is the issue, not summer. The former seems to have been discombobulated this year. Expect summer weather to resume on Monday.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

it’s hot. It’s been rainy. It’s scorching heat out. I hear endless semi. It’s boiling under the sun. There’s most definitely bugs and mosquitos all over the place. It’s insufferably intolerably and freaking hot! I’m drenched in sweat just thinking about how high the temperature is now.

Actually it’s not that hot. The problem is the humidity.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting used to it, but I was expecting worse this year, after that little scare between June and July. And it’s almost August everyone, enjoy the summer. Positive thinking.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Shogun

It's not been that hot outside of that week when rainy season was declared over. People love to complain about the heat here but it's not nearly as bad as it's made out to be.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

The Japanese school calendar makes me really hate summers in Japan. Its not just the humidity, but having to work in July and come back in late August. However, I don't expect to spend my whole career here.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Hydrangea means "water vessel" in Latin or Greek, I don't remember which. Anyway, they are water hungry plants and you've got to water them if it doesn't rain, which it hasn't most of the time this year at my place.

Some hydrangeas, the "kirishima no megumi" variety for example, are sold as "four season bloomers" and will bloom into autumn. There are hundreds of varieties out there, so its a bit silly trying to mark a season with them. Smooth hydrangeas, best known is the white "Annabelle" variety with massive blooms, aren't even Japanese and were imported from America.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Never any mention of the elephant in the weather department - Stratospheric Aerosol Geoengineering, happening on a massive scale all over the world, but denied all over the world... Those rows of parallel, equidistant 'clouds' are just an optical illusion. Ask your 'honest' meteorological department.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It feels a hell of a lot like summer here.

Over 30s in the daytime and really humid both day and night.

Yeah, the rainy season was short (thank god) but everything else feels just like normal.

The cicadas have been screaching outside my windows for the past couple of weeks, which I do like, by the way.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@kohaku - sounds Greek to me, Latin would be something like aqua, not hydra

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thanks for the laugh! I know a bit about geoengineering, but had never heard this conspiracy theory.

Never any mention of the elephant in the weather department - Stratospheric Aerosol Geoengineering, happening on a massive scale all over the world, but denied all over the world... Those rows of parallel, equidistant 'clouds' are just an optical illusion. Ask your 'honest' meteorological department.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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