Category Archives: Japanese Culture

Summer in Japan

How to Enjoy the Summer in Japan

The summer in Japan is incredibly hot and humid because of its topography. We also have Tsuyu, a rainy season, starting around the middle of June, and it lasts about a month. We have a lot of moisture in the air. For people from the West, where it is hot but very dry in summer, the Japanese climate can be a torture.

But if you know some tips, you may find a lot of fun in visiting Japan in summer.

【 Latitude of main cities】

Stockholm 51.30
London 59.19
Paris 48.52
Marseilles 43.19
Rome 41.53
New York 40.45
Madrid 40.25
Lisbon 38.44
Athens 38.00
San Francisco 37.45
Tokyo 35.40
Los Angeles 34.01

【 Average Temperatures in Tokyo and Paris】

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Tokyo
Average temperatures
High
Low
Precipitation
4.7
9.5
0.5
45.1
5.4
10.0
1.2
60.4
8.4
13.0
4.2
99.5
13.9
18.4
9.8
125.0
18.4
22.7
14.5
138.0
21.5
25.3
18.4
185.2
25.2
28.9
22.2
126.1
26.7
30.8
23.6
147.5
22.9
26.7
19.9
179.8
17.3
21.2
13.9
164.1
12.3
16.6
8.4
89.1
7.4
12.1
3.3
45.7
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Paris
Average temperatures
High
Low
Precipitation
3.3
6.0
0.9
52.2
4.0
7.4
1.3
44.9
6.6
12.2
3.6
46.0
9.6
15.8
6.3
55.0
13.3
19.7
9.5
57.8
16.4
22.9
12.7
46.6
18.2
24.6
14.5
48.4
17.8
24.0
14.3
57.2
15.3
21.1
11.9
52.0
11.2
15.6
7.9
49.7
6.6
10.0
4.5
70.8
4.3
6.6
2.0
53.2

Traditional items

Yukata
The yukata is an informal kimono for summer wear. It is used for relaxation and sleeping wear. It is made of light cotton.

Kimono, in general, is not affordable, and the yukata was once not reasonable, either. However, in recent years kimono makers have been trying to retrieve their popularity and been so far successful. The yukata is now available at a reasonable price, and it is also designed to be easy to wear. So every summer more and more people wearing a yukata are seen in the street, especially at summer festivals. It is now a trend among the young to have the latest yukata fashion every summer.

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Geta and Zori
Geta are Japanese wooden clogs raised off the ground by two wooden supports under the sole, and Zori are Japanese-style sandals. Both are accompaniments of kimono. Of course, you can have them on without wearing a kimono, but don’t have a kimono on without them! My husband is using zori in the apartment in Paris. He says it was hard to get used to wearing them but now it is very comfortable. For westerners who always have shoes on, it is good exercise for their feet!!!

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Uchiwa and Sensu
A uchiwa is a round, flat paper fan with a bamboo handle. It is usually used for fanning oneself or a fire. On the other hand, a sensu is a folding fan made of paper on a bamboo frame. It is usually with a decorative picture design or calligraphic character on it.

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Furin
Furin are wind chimes made of metal, porcelain, or bamboo. They are often hung under the eaves of a house, where they can catch the summer breeze. The sound of a furin makes you feel cool and forget the heat of the summer.

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Sudare
Sudare are bamboo blinds. They are used to shut the heat out letting a comfortable wind in.

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Tatami
Tatami are the straw mats, which cover the floor of Japanese room. They are usually rectangular in shape and are made of tightly woven rice-straw and covered with woven rushes with the edges hemmed with cloth. It is very comfortable to sleep on in summer. I also found some tatami goods for souvenirs.

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Amenity goods

Drugstores in Japan are the place where you can find some weird but useful goods. Even if you have nothing to buy, you may fall in a fit of buying some. Explore the drugstores in Japan!!!

Aburatorigami
Aburatorigami is “face oil blotting paper.” It is a necessity for Japanese women. Ask your Japanese female friend if she has some in her cosmetics pouch!!

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Some brands have a nice decorative picture. They use special Japanese paper used in the process of gold leaf pounding. More details at a pioneer company’s official site. click here.

Asewaki-pat
Asewaki-pat is a patch for absorbing sweat in the armpits.

j summer

Ashi-sokai-sheet
Ashi-sokai-sheet is a patch for cooling and refreshing your feet and legs. It really works, so we have a big stock of “ashi-sokai-sheet. More effect is expected when it is cooled well in a fridge. Don’t scream when you put it on your feet!!

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Other unique goods

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To refresh your eyes

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A home sauna

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To protect ourselves from mosquitoes.

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To make a shade.
Japanese women don’t like to have suntan!

Foods and drinks

Sports Drinks
One thing I miss a lot in France is “sports drinks.”

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Amino supli : Amino value : Aquarius

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Pocari Sweat:
Some foreign friends in Japan say they don’t want to drink it because it says ‘sweat.’ But it is really refreshing. Try it. It is everywhere.

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Iced coffee.

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Somen: somen are very thin white noodles. It is usually served in a large glass bowl of icy water.

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Kakigoori (Shaved ice).

Beer Garden
As the summer comes, ‘beer gardens’ appear on the flat roof of buildings. Office workers get there to have beer and cool down after work.

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Edamame is a relish for beer in Japan. It is also known for the effect to help decompose alcohol.

Summer Festivals
We have many traditional activities during the summer, such as a fireworks show, summer festivals, and Buddhist festivals (Bon festivals). My small hometown has ‘a Karaoke festival’!!!

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Aomori prefecture: Nebuta Festival

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Kyoto: Gion Festival

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Osaka: Tenjin Festival

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Tokushima prefecture : Awa-odori Festival

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Yamagata prefecture: Hanagasa Festival

I hope you will have a nice time in summer in Japan. I miss Japan a lot especially in summer because there are so many festivals all over Japan. Our country has become modern, but when such summer festivals start, people can go back to the good old times.

Japanese Cuisine

Since I started living in Paris, I have always missed Japanese food. I go to several Japanese grocery shops in Paris, but of course, the goods sold there are twice or three times more expensive than in Japan!

So, the conclusion I always come down to is just to wait until the day I go back to Japan next. Here is the list of Japanese cuisine I miss a lot. Please try some if you have an occasion to visit Japan!

Tenpura
Tempura is a dish of prawns, small fish, squid and vegetables deep-fried after being dipped in batter. It is served with a special sauce.

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Nigiri-Sushi
Nigiri-sushi is a kind of sushi consisting of a slice of raw fish on a small oval-shaped ball of boiled rice. It is eaten after being dipped in soy sauce.

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Sukiyaki
Sukiyaki is a dish of thinly sliced beef, onions, tofu and shiitake mushrooms cooked in a pan at the table. Sugar, soy sauce and sake are added for flavor.

sikiyaki

Sashimi
Sashimi is sliced raw fish eaten after being dipped in soy sauce mixed with wasabi (horseradish). Among the most popular fish are tuna, yellowtail and cuttlefish.

sasimimori

Shabu-shabu
Shabu-shabu is a dish of thinly sliced beef and vegetables cooked in a shallow pan. The mat is first quickly boiled in broth and then dipped in a special sauce. When the meat has been eaten, vegetables and tofu are cooked in the same pan.

syabu

Yakitori
Yakitori is grilled chicken. Chunks of chicken and vegetables are arranged on bamboo skewers, broiled over a charcoal fire and dipped in a special sweet soy sauce.

yakitori

Unagi-no-Kabayaki
Unagi-no-Kabayaki is charcoal-broiled eel basted with a mixture of soy sauce, sugar and sake. It is usually served with hot rice. If you want to taste really good Kabayaki, go to Hamamatsu City in Shizuoka Prefecture. It is their specialty.

haru .

Okonomiyaki
Okonomiyaki is a Japanese-style pancake usually grilled on an iron plate. It is made from batter with bits of meat, seafood, egg and chopped cabbage. Osaka has good Okonomiyaki restaurants because it is their specialty.

Takoyaki

Takoyaki are grilled octopus dumplings. Ingredients include batter, octopus, and green onion. Sold at street stands, takoyaki is grilled on an iron plate and served with dried bonito shavings and a thick sauce.

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Oden
Oden is a Japanese stew. A variety of ingredients, such as tofu, eggs, white radish, fried fish paste and potatoes, are boiled together in a large pot of seasoned fish broth. Hot mustard is served as a condiment. It is a winter dish.

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Yakiniku
Yakiniku is Japanese barbecue. Thinly sliced beef and vegetables are grilled on a flat-iron pan. It is served with a special sauce made from soy sauce, miso and so on. It is good with hot rice.

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Chawanmushi
Chawanmushi is cup-steamed egg custard with chicken, shrimp and vegetables. Trefoil leaves are often put on top as a garnish.

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Udon
Udon are white noodles made from wheat flour, usually eaten hot in soup.

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Soba
Soba are brown noodles made from buckwheat flour. The noodles can be eaten hot in broth or cold after being dipped in a special sauce. My home town has good Soba!

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Somen
Somen are very thin white noodles made from white wheat flour, usually served with chopped green onion in a large glass bowl of icy water. They are eaten after being dipped in a special sauce. It is for the summer, and the one served in a bowl of hot soup in winter is called Newmen!!

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Ochazuke
Ochazuke is a bowl of rice with hot water or green tea poured over it. Broiled salted salmon, cod roe, toasted laver or pickles are usually put on top. A little wasabi horseradish may be added.

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Donburimono
Donburimono is a meal served in a large, deep bowl. Tempura, broiled eels, egg or chicken is placed on rice in the bowl.

gyudon .

Sekihan
Sekihan is rice steamed together with red beans. Since red is considered to be the color of joy, it is prepared for auspicious occasions such as festivals and birthdays.

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Zosui
Zosui is a kind of porridge of rice and vegetable. Boiled rice is cooked in a soup seasoned with soy sauce and then mixed with trefoil leaves, egg or seafood.

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Tsukemono
Tsukemono are Japanese pickles. Vegetables are pickled in salt, rice bran, miso or sake lees. They are usually served to complement other dishes. My favorite is Shibazuke (in the first picture below). Kyoto has many Tsukemono shops.

akasiba hakusai kyuri .

Umeboshi
Umeboshi are pickled plums, usually served for breakfast. Salty and sour.

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Tsukudani
Tsukudani is a preserved food, usually fish or shellfish or seaweed, which has been boiled down with soy sauce and sugar.

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Kon-nyaku
Kon-nyaku is a gelatin-like cake made from the starch of the devil’s tongue root. Similar to tapioca, kon-nyaku is often an ingredient in oden, sukiyaki, and other dishes.

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Katsuobushi
Katsuobushi is dried bonito which has been shaved into paper-thin flakes. It is used to flavor other foods or as a base for Japanese soup.

hana honhusi

Chikuwa
Chikuwa is a bamboo-shaped, broiled fish-paste cake. It is often an ingredient in oden.

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Kamaboko
Kamaboko is a steamed fish-paste cake in the shape of a half cylinder placed on a piece of wood. The surface is often dyed red for happy occasions because the red and white color combination is regarded as a symbol of celebration.

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Nori
Nori is dried laver, a kind of seaweed. It is often eaten with rice for breakfast after being dipped in soy sauce. Many kinds of Onigiri, rice balls covered with nori, are found in every convenience store in Japan.

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Wakame Seaweed
Wakame seaweed is often seen in Miso soup. It is very healthy and believed to give a lot of nutrition to your hair!

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Miso
Miso is fermented soybean paste. It is used in a variety of dishes such as miso soup.

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Natto
Natto are steamed, fermented soybeans. They are mixed with soy sauce, mustard and minced green onions when eaten. It is sticky and stinky, but really healthy. Try it!! Good with hot rice!!!

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I cannot wait to go back to Japan!!!