Summer in Japan is very 蒸し暑い (“muggy” / hot and humid).
Florida, where I grew up, is also hot and humid during the summer. But, unlike Japan, I don’t recall any particular traditions of summer in Florida…other than going to the beach.
Actually when I was a teenager in Florida, my friends and I couldn’t get enough of the beach. But, it wasn’t actually the “beach” that we were interested in…we would’ve went to the library—if it was full of girls in bikinis!
Japanese people like to celebrate the uniqueness of the seasons of the year. There are traditions in autumn, winter, spring and summer in Japan.
A few of Japan’s summer traditions are:
● Summer festivals and fireworks shows.
Japan has 祭り (festivals) all year round…but there’s an abundance of them in the summer. And in late July to early August, there are many excellent 花火大会 (fireworks shows).
Click here to see my listing of summer festivals in the Tokyo area.
● スイカ割り (“Watermelon smashing”)
This is a Japanese summertime tradition that is similar to Mexico’s piñata. In both traditions, people take turns being blindfolded and try to hit the target with a stick, but in Mexico, the target is a kind of paper doll filled with candy that gets hit until it breaks open, Japan’s スイカ割り (“Watermelon smashing”) has a watermelon as the target. Once the watermelon gets hit and breaks open, everyone enjoys eating it.
● かき氷 (Shaved ice)
Eating shaved ice with a sweet syrup flavoring is a popular way to people to stay cool in the summer in Japan.
If you want to buy a かき氷 (Shaved ice) in Japan, you can find them when you see a flag or poster that looks like this:
● ビアガーデン (“Beer garden”)
In the summertime, many places in Japan offer space to drink beer outdoors (and often on the building’s roof) in the cool night breeze.
Some places offer an “all-you-drink” (within a time limit) special.
●Pools and beaches
Of course, swimming is popular in the summertime in Japan just as it is in Florida.
Pools and beaches in Japan have lifeguards on duty and very few are open year-round.
Most of them are opening around now. Toshimaen, an excellent amusement park / waterslide park / pool in Tokyo opened on weekends only beginning July 2nd this year and will be open everyday from July 16th until September 4th.
What types of traditions does your country have in the summer?