Monday, August 28, 2017

Life on the Floor: 3 End Of Heat

I've previously mentioned the 24 mini-seasons, the seasonal subdivisions, of Japan.  On August 23, we entered End Of Heat, and sure enough, the temperatures are bumping their way down.  The next couple of days will continue hot -- high 80's -- but that's much better than low 90's.  Nights are cooling off.  By next week, temperatures will top out in the high 70's and will drop into the 60's at night.  That will be very pleasant.
Meantime, the beach continues to be the best place around.
I'm watching for Seahawks, also known as Ospreys, but haven't spotted any yet.  Ospreys may appear in Book 5, swirling around in my brain like clouds.
Meanwhile, Book 4 will start a month-long campaign through Books and the Bear, to spread the word about this exciting adventure.
I can't imagine how people existed in the normal Japanese clothing of 1872, much less the clothing the Westerners and the Japanese who followed their lead customarily wore, in this weather.  The humidity's down, and that's a huge relief.  It'll just get better and better.
School starts up again very soon, although neighborhood kids are already engaging in pre-season sports and activities, and the stores abound with fall clothes and fall foods.  I saw chestnuts in the store today!  I love chestnuts, and it's the start of their season.
Following the seasons, especially the mini-seasons, keeps one in touch with crops, with nature, and with the rhythm of life.
Meantime, I'm heading for the beach.  I have a bigger swim float and now a "cloth" (it's striped plastic material) to sit on.  Might as well stock up when everything's on sale.
This is the season of Book 4: Uncle Yuta Has An Adventure.  This would be a great time to start reading it.

Once again, I can't upload pictures.  There are some on the Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy's Facebook page.  I can send them there, but I can't send them here.  Working on it.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Life on the Floor:2 Mushi-atsui

The month of August is hot and steamy in Japan.  Humidity is high and so are temperatures.  The Japanese word for this is "mushi-atsui."  At the end of August, which is rapidly approaching, summer is giving a last gasp with temperatures soaring and everybody -- and everything -- dripping.  There's good news, though.  In my experience, on September 1 precisely, the national thermostat will drop ten degrees.  The humidity is already abating (unless it rains, which it is predicted to do a few more times before August mercifully ends.)
The only way to counter this -- besides staying in air-conditioned spaces -- is to go to the beach and that's where I've been going.
The sand is silver, flecked with gold.  The gold flakes rise in the water of the surf, tossing and tumbling in the waves.  The water is warm.  Even though it's early, the water on Chigasaki's south beach is warm with the occasional undercurrent of cool lifted up as the tide recedes.
People bring tent-like shelters to shield them from the pounding sun.  People wear sun-protective swimwear, and though people do swim, most do so in short bursts, preferring to sit in the surf playing with children, floating on various kinds of inflatables and rafts.  Outside the official swimming area, some snorklers look for shellfish and fish around anchored swim tubes.  Further out, the commercial fishing boats circle the islets and reefs in search of the day's catch.
I float, I bask, I enjoy.
Birds circle.  Sea Hawks search for underwater prey.  Is there a character up there?
I'll be back tomorrow.
By the end of next week, the people, I'm told, will vanish as the summer holiday season comes to an official end.

Pictures will follow.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Life on the Floor

Moving halfway across the world is tough.  Getting settled is tougher.  I am having huge internet/computer problems.  The Web isn't really all that World-Wide. Each country has gatekeepers and challenges.  Languages switch (who would have guessed?)  Passwords are rejected, though they were all changed, on demand by the on-line providers, before I left and now neither the new ones nor the old ones work.  Starting over.  Good thing I read some Japanese and am pretty fearless about pressing buttons. I also keep written records, like any and everybody else with sense, and that sometimes helps.  I've been here just over two weeks.  I still like it, despite the frustrations.

I have finally managed to log in here.  I thought it was MAGIC!  And it was.  My Apple products are supposed to cross-reference and keep all my passwords safely.  Not my fault, really.  In The Toki-Girl and Sparrow-Boy's universe, many things operate via magic.  Why should I expect magic to vanish in Japan?  Here in Chigasaki, Apple Magic does not uniformly apply.

It's also tough getting used to life on the floor, not just for a few weeks, but for, if I'm lucky, the foreseeable future.

Traditionally, for reasons covered in The Toki-Girl and Sparrow-Boy books, and others, the Japanese lifestyle is mostly lived on the floor, with things brought out as needed, then stored away for a nice, clean look.  There are tables, and sometimes floor chairs, but even now what furniture there is rests very close to the ground.  In fact, right now, I am sitting in a floor chair, cross-legged, with my computer resting in my lap.

This poses problems for a stiff American.  I'm working at flexibility, because this isn't going to change.  Yes, once my residency visa is approved, I'll buy some furniture, but for now I am staying with a friend and furniture isn't a priority -- she's flexible!  When my visa comes through and I get my own place, furniture will be high on the list.

This move would be much harder on anyone who hadn't spent significant time in Japan and didn't know what to expect.

While I'm neither weeaboo nor Japanophile, Japan remains my quirky and eccentric friend who puts a slightly different spin on the universe than the one Westerners like me are used to.  I like the Japanese way, and I like being and living here.  So far.

Stay tuned, now that I can get in here, for more about life on the floor!