Relabeling the seasons

I find that one of the most humourous comments I hear from people in Japan is that Japan is special because it has four seasons.  For some reason, many Japanese people think it’s unique to Japan.  But now that summer is upon us, I’ve been thinking about the seasons in the Tokyo area.  They’re not really as well defined as people claim they are.  Winter isn’t very winter-like.  Early autumn can be quite hot.  Even late autumn is still very comfortable, while in Canada, it’s freezing and snowing.  So, I thought I’d relabel the seasons in Tokyo from an Edmonton, Alberta point of view.

Let’s start with where we are now.  While it’s early summer now, it’s in the middle of rainy season.  It’s also a lot warmer than it usually gets in Edmonton.  So, from early June to mid-July, it shall now be known as “Rainy Sauna.” It’s humid and daytime is pretty damn warm.  From mid-July to late September, the season is now called “Broil.” The heat from above is intense, and no matter where you go, whether in the shade or the sun, it’s extremely hot and humid.  October is now known as “Summer.” It’s quite like Edmonton’s summer.  November and December are known as “Autumn.”  It’s quite beautiful and comfortable.  November is still very mild, while December gets the leaves changing colour.  January is now known as “False Winter.”  It doesn’t usually snow, but it is still cold.  Above freezing, though.  It’s not a true Canadian winter.  February to April is known as “Spring.” The flowers are blooming and the trees start turning green.  Just like early spring in Canada, it can snow and be cold, but the signs of spring are always there.  Finally, we have May, when the season shall now be known as “Summer.”  What’s that?  Two summers?  May and October are the closest we get to a Canadian summer here.  It’s warm and sunny and quite comfortable.

For those of you who don’t like to read, here’s a handy list of the seasons starting in January:

  • False Winter – January
  • Spring – February to April
  • Summer (1) – May
  • Rainy Sauna – June to mid-July
  • Broil – mid-July to September
  • Summer (2) – October
  • Autumn – November to December

So there it is, Japan’s unique 7 seasons.

Just a note: This is the first day of my attempt to make a post a day in July.


Filed under Humour, Japan, Weather

19 responses to “Relabeling the seasons

  1. Totally agreed!
    And from today we offically started the “humid season”. It’s crazy! And from tomorrow the rolling blackouts will start (up to twice a day!!!) … Uhhh…

    • You’ve got rolling blackouts, huh? They haven’t announced any here. Last year, we had them for a bit after the earthquake, but none at all during summer. Everyone did a good job conserving power.

      • Well, they announced it for Hokkaido, Kansai, Shikoku and Kyushu.
        Not for the rest of Japan, so also not for Kanto or Tohoku.
        Lucky you! They’re planned for every day for about 2-2.5h and in Kansai (where I am) maybe even twice each day! 😦

  2. We are definitely entering the “Broiler”….definitely 😦

  3. Kathryn

    I think climate change is really messing with people’s heads here. LIke it’s rainy season but it’s not raining! zoinks!

  4. tom

    God I wish I had rainy season where I live. Some years we get it and some we dont. It usually doesn’t get hot until august or september and it started in May. damn la nina needs to go away.

    • You live in California? Correct me if I’m wrong. I used to live in Victoria, BC for 5 years in university, and half the year was a rainy season. However, it was always the coldest months that were rainy. Cold and humid don’t mix.

  5. A year in Tokyo, with Africa as central reference, starting in January:
    1. Freezing cold like the Moroccan Desert at night
    2. Very unhappy African
    3. Slow defrost
    4. Cherry blossoms and stuff that we don’t have in Africa
    5. Open windows part I
    6. Congo basin
    7. Just like Uganda on a good day
    8. Just like Rwanda on a bad day
    9. Just like Southern Africa
    10. Open windows part II
    11. Red leaves and stuff that we don’t have in Africa
    12. Cold like the top of Mount Kilimanjaro

    • Sounds about right. What I don’t understand is how they can say that autumn is starting when it’s the middle of August. That comes from ancient China, as well.

  6. Haha…”Broil.” I like that.

    I’ve heard people reduce Japan’s seasons even more simply to Hot, Cold, and Rain. Though there are some pleasant, temperate days or weeks scattered in there.

    • The west coast of Canada has 2 seasons, I think. Rain and Summer. I’d have to say that in Japan, the comfortable weather lasts longer in autumn than in spring. The rise of temperatures in spring is rapid, while the cooling period in autumn is quite slow.

  7. Pingback: The sun is set to broil | Jay Dee in Japan

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