- A four-day break as it’s Golden Week.
- Fantastic weather! Cold wind! There’s a winter-grade cold air mass passing over or something.
- Outside town, more rice fields are being planted.
- The uguisu welcomes us! The first of the season.
- The sun already has a kick to it. In fact, despite that cool breeze there is as much ultra-violet coming down as in August.
- Every day is a scorcher! We’re lucky this time.
- Small black long-legged flies – mayflies?
- Repair the big net round this year’s chilli field and plant some zucchinis. Fingers crossed…
- Write notes for an Abe diatribe.
- Frog voices starting up.
- Yamada san and three others come over and we grill iwana fish. A big fire just manages to hold back the evening chill.
- We leave early on Monday – the last day of Golden Week – expecting traffic jams, but it’s not that bad. (Another gorgeous day, and we hate to have to get back to Nagoya.)
- Min. temp. 2°C, max. 20°C
It rained on Saturday, but now a high pressure area is back with more fantastic weather – not a cloud. The village down the road looks beautiful in the late afternoon sun. The rice planting is finished here and the frogs are in voice.
At the house we get another welcome from uguisu and friends. That evening is a bit cold but we light a fire and barbecue some beef and vegetables. Shiitake mushrooms are good with butter and soy sauce. That odd-sounding combination of seasonings is quite good in fact. The Japanese are quite inventive with food – the other day on the radio someone was talking about coriander leaves + olive oil + udon noodles!
T goes to bed early leaving me to enjoy the spring night. Sipping awamori under the stars I have a few moments of alcoholic bliss. Have you ever felt so happy you could die right there? Sorry if it sounds silly, but it left enough of an impression that I made a note of it next day.
On Monday we enjoy yet more gorgeous weather. That chilly wind of last week is now just deliciously refreshing. This won’t last – another month and we’ll be in the rainy season. The weeds have flourished after Saturday’s rain – I must get the weed cutter out before they get tough and fibrous. Bamboo shoots are coming up too – I can make a bamboo shoot curry for Raffles.
Meanwhile, I completely wilt from working under this hot sun.
Min. temp. 3°C, max. 24°C
Of course that gorgeous weather couldn’t last, and now we’re getting a foretaste of the rainy season, our annual monsoon. The rain front has already engulfed Okinawa, and a corner of it licked round here bringing a day’s rain. By the time we get to the house it’s decidedly chilly too.
Vegetables in the supermarkets have got cheaper – cucumbers, eggplants and big early onions which are delicious in salads.
Monday is sunny again, but some clouds remain and it’s starting to get a bit sticky – more like the summer to come than the beautiful fresh weather we had the last two weeks. Sunday’s rain brought up a load more bamboo shoots so we dig up a couple – I can make a jar of crunchy spicy bamboo pickle. See a leech in the moist backwoods. The weeds have also put on good growth – some 1/2m in the last week – time to have a first go with the weed-cutter.
On our way back to Nagoya the sun is now going down well to the right of its winter path.
Min. temp. 10°C, max. 27°C
What a difference a week makes. Last week we still had the kotatsu switched on, but now we’re sweating. Sunday is sultry – even the breeze as we arrive doesn’t really take the edge off it, though it’s definitely nicer than Nagoya.
There’s been no rain all week and though the weeds are totally unfazed and have grown another 1/2m, the pumpkins, zucchini and goya don’t look much bigger than last week. I’ve brought out the first four chilli seedlings to plant, so have to fix the deer net and dig and plastic-mulch the first row of the field.
On Monday morning I’m woken by the uguisu just outside. It’s cloudy and cooler – actually quite pleasant. We’ve rain due tomorrow; Kyushu has already “entered tsuyu“. Plant the chillies, arrange the net (fingers crossed), cut more weeds and get my first leech bite.
Min. temp. 9°C, max. 27°C