Tag Archives: beach

What are your country’s summer traditions?

10 Jul

Summer in Japan is very 蒸し暑い (“muggy” / hot and humid).

“Beware of heat stroke in the hot summer!”

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 or water-slide parks.

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.

● アナゴ (freshwater eel)
Eating eel is believed to give stamina to survive the grueling summer heat.
Click here to read a post that I wrote about it.

蝉 (Cicadas)
Every summer the 蝉 (cicadas) can be heard chirping in Japan. It’s considered one of the sounds of summer.
I wrote this post about the cicada in Japan.

● 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:

The character is 「氷」 and means “ice”

● 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?

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Disaster

12 Aug

Every summer we go to a beach resort and stay a few days.
This year we planned to go there from Sunday, August 9 until yesterday (Tuesday, August 11) because all five of us had those days off from work or school clubs.

We checked the weather forecast for those days last week and it said that it would rain a little bit on August 9 and then it’d be nice the rest of the time.
But that’s not how it turned out…

When we arrived at the beach on Sunday, it was a bit cloudy but still nice weather and very hot. So the kids went swimming a bit. If they had known that that’d be their only chance to swim, they would’ve stayed in the water longer.

After they finished swimming, they took a shower and changed their clothes and we went for a walk around.
My second daughter caught a カブト虫 (rhino beetle).

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Then it began to rain.

We went back to the room and ate dinner. And we turned on the TV and I checked the weather forecast.
A typhoon was hitting the east coast of Japan! 😦

The forecast said that the typhoon would be gone and the weather would clear up on the afternoon of August 11. The day we we going back home!

And then, while we were eating dinner, an 地震 (earthquake) struck!
The area we were in registered a “level 4 earthquake” on the Japanese shindo earthquake scale. (The Japanese scale goes from 1-7).
It was an unwelcome fright! But luckily it wasn’t strong enough to knock anything down where we were.

The weather forecast was correct. The typhoon stayed the whole time we were there. It ruined our beach trip.
The wind and rain was very strong the entire time we were there. Both the beach and the nearby waterslide pool park were closed.

And then yesterday morning at about 5:30AM, another big 地震 (earthquake) struck! This one had the epicenter in 静岡県 (Shizuoka Prefecture), and registered a “level 6” (out of “7”) there!
Where we were it registered as a “level 4” again. Once again, not big enough to do damage where we were…but big enough to wake us up!
I hate earthquakes!

But we still had fun together. Indoors.
We played games, watched TV, talked, and enjoyed time together.

We planned to take the 6:30PM train home yesterday (August 11).
At about 5:00PM, I noticed that the typhoon seemed to have passed and the weather was clearing up.
Just my luck! The weather was miserable the whole time we were there…and then clears up when were getting ready to leave!

Since we had time, and the storm passed, we took a walk around again.
There were many surfers taking advantage of the big waves brought by the typhoon.

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Even though we didn’t get to swim as we planned, we still had a good time.
And as I said, we go to this beach every summer. This was the first time that the weather wasn’t beautiful while we were there.
Hopefully it’ll be nice weather again next year!