Life in Japan, food, music, whatever…

Farmlog 20th July 2009 23 July, 2009

Filed under: countryside — johnraff @ 2:33 pm
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Not much to report this week- more of the same really, ie:

  • More sliminess, damp, wet (had to put newspaper on the porch floor to soak some of it up), humidity, lush vegetation… and more leeches! We seem to be getting a plague of them. I found one under my T-shirt just before it had got its teeth (or whatever leeches have) into me, and T found another one in the bathroom. Ugh!
  • Another, biggish, snake in the drain ditch by the road. It’s getting so it’s hard to go outside without feeling nervous about what might be about to go for you. I’ll be quite happy when this Rainy Season is finally over.
  • Usually when we head back to Nagoya on Monday evening to I hate to leave, but this week it was like escaping from a hostile jungle…
  • Minimum temp. 20°C, max. 26°C.

Farmlog 13th July 2009 18 July, 2009

Filed under: countryside — johnraff @ 2:44 pm
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  • Gets hotter and stickier all the time. This week the theme was damp. Sticky, squelchy, slippery, slimy, squishy… You get the idea. Water somehow naturally appears on surfaces, just out of the air. Mould everywhere – anyway, as long as it’s not actually raining you can see why we prefer to have dinner outside.
  • The Snake Incident!
  • The uguisu was singing away all weekend.
  • Minimum temp. 20°C, mavimum 26°C.

Farmlog 29th June 2009 5 July, 2009

Filed under: countryside — johnraff @ 1:45 am
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There was no farm report last week because I stayed in town – the band had a gig on Sunday afternoon. T. went up with a couple of friends and picked plums (ume actually) and tea.

  • This time we got to the house, opened the front door and were greeted by a blast of mould smell. Yes the Rainy Season has set in and mould has exuberantly infested the tatami matting, wooden beams and just about any surface available. At this time of year you can’t leave a bottle of soy sauce in the kitchen without coming back the next week to find it covered in mould. Ugh. It can get bad enough to give me headaches; anyway house dust and, yes, mould, can trigger an allergy which brings on sneezing and endlessly running nose, though generally the humidity helps me, compared with the dry Autumn. This time of year the moisture rises up from the ground too – or is it the moist air hitting the cool ground surface – but anyway on a bad day the kitchen and entrance floors can be wet. No wonder we prefer to have dinner outside under the stars ( or clouds ) if it’s not raining.
  • Came into the house that evening and saw a brown blob on my big toe. got a tissue to wipe it off and found it was a leech. Hmm, maybe you didn’t know Japan had leeches too. Add that to the list of nasties.
  • Still, there are compensations – late June/early July is when the fireflies come out. The season is very short, just a week or so, and the conditions have to be right: a cloudy, warm, humid evening with little wind and no rain from about 8:00 to 9:00 pm. We saw just one or two, so maybe we were a week late, or, hopefully, a week early so we can look forward to more this weekend. We’ll see, but if you’re lucky enough to hit the right time and see a whole load of them, it’s absolutely magic. A couple of years ago a friend told us about a good place just up the road, and, sure enough, there was a rice field by a stream where hundreds of fireflies filled the sky with a molten milky way of stars, accompanied by an orchestra of frogs. One of those unforgettable moments…
  • A spider has made its web in our outside urinal. The stream of urine hitting the web when I used it must have seemed like a caught insect at first, but that spider soon discovered this was something totally beyond its concept of reality. A paranormal experience, repeated two or three times that day.
  • Out with the weed cutter, and try to get the upper hand on the jungle that’s trying to establish itself around the house but it’s almost a hopeless task. You’ve heard the story of the team of men whose job it is to paint the Forth Bridge? As soon as they get to the end it’s time to start again.
  • Minimum temp. 16°C, maximum 25°C.

Guerilla Rain 4 September, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — johnraff @ 2:57 pm
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Guerilla Rain is what they call those sudden fierce downpours that seem to be getting more and more common. What we’d call flash floods I suppose. In July they had an attack in Kobe, where four people were swept away, then in Tokyo five sewer workers.

Last Thursday night we had a taste here in Nagoya. It suddenly started pouring, water came in under out garage shutter, and while we were nervously watching the TV news we noticed a pool forming under out living room window. I ran out and pulled off the dead leaves that were blocking the drain hole of our veranda (got soaked in the 3~4 seconds that it took) and the 15cm of water that had built up soon went down… They were saying later that in Nagoya about 100mm of water fell in that hour. Down the road in Okazaki they got 140mm, many houses were flooded, and again two people were drowned. One old lady was found washed up on the coast 40 Km away. More recently, some places in the area have had 400~odd mm of rain in 24 hours.

These are serious quantities of rain when you think about it. 500mm is half a metre of water spread over many square kilometres. No wonder little streams turn into raging torrents, and mountains crumble. While Japan certainly gets plenty of rain, this is unusual for August, or any time for that matter. The cause seems to be that the Pacific high pressure area that usually brings the hot but clear Summer weather has given up, swathes of hot moist air are coming up from the South and colliding with cold air from the Asian continent – right here.

Still, there have been no typhoons up this way so far (touch wood) so we’re luckier than people in the Caribbean who seem to be getting hit by one cyclone after another, not to mention India, where a river has changed course. Back in the day, everything used to be blamed on The Bomb, now it’s Global Warming, though that seems more credible.



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