In these Picture of the Month posts about my year in Japan, I have mentioned how terribly hot and wet summer is in Japan. The truth of the matter though is that Japan isn’t small enough that it is the same absolutely everywhere, even if you don’t count Okinawa (tropical).
I live in Kyoto, on the main island of Japan (Honshu). My first time in Japan was in Fukuoka on Kyushu, the (bigger) southern island.
There is also a big island to the north, called Hokkaido. Its climate is fairly similar to Sweden, although they have more humidity in summer and, you know, typhoons passing by.
This is where I escaped for a glorious long weekend. Leaving 38 degrees Celsius behind for 20-25C. Basically getting to perfect summer temperatures, if you are me.
Suddenly I loved going out for long walks again. Sitting outside to read or write poetry. Walking until my feet hurt.
Visiting a shrine, and some other places.
And for one day I hoped a train and visited the hometown (Obihiro) of a Japanese person I’ve gotten to know. She lives in Kyoto, same as me, but was visiting home for a little while in summer.
She and her mother took me around to a beautiful garden and forest outside Obihiro. But first they took me to a restaurant where I had the best tempura I’ve ever had. So delicious.
The garden we visited had both a Japanese garden area, but it was bigger with other sections that I don’t know how I’d define. I don’t know if they belonged to a specific garden tradition. If they do, I don’t know those traditions.
It was gorgeous though and we had a rain free day. Quite a surprise since I’d actually had to go a day later than planned because the trains had been cancelled the day before due to heavy rain outside Sapporo (where I stayed).
After that garden we went to a cafe, and then walked through a smaller forest with some sculptures and small houses with art.
A very enjoyable day and a lot of Japanese practice, which is great. I hope by the time I finish the year here, I can hold casual conversations fairly easily in Japanese, right now they are certainly not easy and don’t feel very casual since I have to work so hard, haha.