Maybe this fruit’s not too well known outside the Far East – it’s about the size of a small apple, bright red-orange and a bit crunchy. (I’m not that crazy about them personally.) There are two kinds: sweet and bitter. The bitter ones are incredibly astringent (tannin) and quite inedible. It feels as if your mouth is being turned inside out. However, if you dry them they miraculously become sweet! The result is something like dried dates or figs. The tree behind our country house is the bitter variety but this year there’s been a huge crop (they produce heavily on alternate years) and Taeko’s been hanging up some of them to make dried persimmons, out on our Nagoya veranda where the washing usually goes. Last time she did that she was eating them every day (they are a bit too sweet for me) and put on 10Kg, so this time she’s giving most of them away to friends and relatives.
…the heat goes on… 13 July, 2011
…and is likely to for quite a while. It’s still only the start of July, the peak will probably be around the end of the month and the first cool breeze of autumn doesn’t usually arrive till some time in September. Had to water the garden this morning for the first time this year.
The TV news was telling us that some three times as many people had died of heatstroke as at the same time last year. Meanwhile with several nuclear power stations either shut down or destroyed by tidal waves electric power supplies are on the edge. Here in the Nagoya area it’s not as bad as in Tokyo, but still every evening along with the weather forecast there’s a power forecast: whether the generators are likely to hold up or not. Today the percentage of available power likely to be used was 89% – considered “stable” apparently. They don’t want any more old people and children to die from the heat, so along with the appeals to economise on electricity are reminders not to overdo it. Quite tricky.
Heat 9 July, 2011
Yes, it’s hot. We’re now out of the Rainy Season and into the summer a good week earlier than usual, and quite as hot and humid as you could want, thank you.
One small consolation, for us at Raffles anyway, is that the heat seems to increase peoples’ desire for a foaming mugfull of well chilled lager (quite understandable) and for some spicy Asian food. The spicy food goes with the beer, and also seems to suit the heat, somehow. The result has been that we’ve been a bit busy the last 2 or 3 weeks and I’ve been quite slack about posting up all the fascinating stuff that’s been going on.
I’ll try a bit harder to keep up but it’s not easy to focus on a sticky afternoon with the temperature approaching 35°C and 60% humidity…
The Rainy Season 3 June, 2011
It was officially announced last week – Thursday or so – that the Rainy Season had begun in the Nagoya area. The end of May is very early, usually it’s the around second week of June, but that doesn’t mean it will end early apparently, just be longer than usual. I may have mentioned it before, but this is not my favourite season here by any means. The summer can be incredibly hot and sweaty, but I still prefer it to the six weeks of humidity we now are heading for…
…that said, it’s actually quite pleasant today. You do get breaks – it’s not rain from beginning to end.
Here it comes 6 May, 2011
Last Friday it was officially announced that Okinawa had “entered the Rainy Season”. They’re about a month ahead of us, so the monsoon which comes up from India via SE Asia will reach us in early June. Although it’s quintessentially Japanese somehow, the “tsuyu” is the season I find hardest to cope with: humid, mouldy, sticky, damp… sure the new leaves hit new heights of green lushness but for me if it’s going to be humid and tropical I’d rather have some heat with it, and do it properly. Of course, that will come in due course, late July or so.
Meanwhile, here in Nagoya over the last few days the weather has been fantastic. Sunny skies with a fresh breeze – the kind of day when you want to eat an ice cream in the park. Lucky for all the people who have this week off: it’s Golden Week, something like a British bank holiday weekend when public holidays line up so if you take a couple of extra days off you can have a week’s break, so everybody piles into their cars, a train or plane and goes somewhere. Here at Raffles, though, we’re working through as normal. At least we don’t have to deal with the 75Km traffic jams.
for 2011 16 January, 2011
We collected some favourite pictures, mostly from round our country house, over the past few years and got a calendar made. It turned out quite nice, so I thought I’d share them with you (click the image for a full-sized version):
Calendar shortage 15 December, 2010
Calendars aren’t something you go out and buy – you get given them, usually by companies you have some dealing with and who’d like to have their name on your wall through the next year. Unfortunately, along with cutting “entertainment” expenses, calendar budgets have been trimmed too and there’s a nationwide calendar deficit apparently.