Grab an Umbrella!


Rainy season
Sea of umbrellas in Harajuku

Either grab your umbrella, or jump under someone else’s, because the rains are here! After a HOT and HUMID couple of weeks, the rainy season officially started yesterday (June 5). And by the looks of it, we won’t be seeing the sun for a loooong time. The wet season lasts for a month or so, and although it technically isn’t supposed to rain every day, the current forecast says otherwise…

Rainy season
Yahoo Tokyo forecast Friday~Wednesday

One thing synonymous with the rainy season in Japan are hydrangea flowers. They bloom around June and have no problem toughing it out against the winds and rains. Their beautiful shades of blue, purple, and pink give colour to an otherwise grey and gloomy world. I think this is why they’re so popular here. Although, the Japanese go crazy over any and every flower really! If you’re in the country now, you’ll see many ajisai matsuri (hydrangea festivals) wherever you go!

Hydrangea Hydrangea Hydrangea Hydrangea

Tokyo’s Snowpocalypse

What a weekend! I prayed for snow and got a blizzard! It started coming down at about 3:00am Saturday morning (I know, because I was still up from the night before, waiting in anticipation!). After a few hours sleep, I woke up at about 7:30am, jumped out of bed and threw the curtains open, wild with excitement! What I saw, however, was not nearly as spectacular as I was expecting… basically, it just looked like mother nature had given the ground a light dusting of sugar. I thought to myself, “well, that was disappointing”. But there was no way I could have gone back to bed at that point… in fact, the adrenaline got me through the entire day without even feeling tired. For a girl who needs her 8 hours, that was pretty remarkable.

Mid-morning, the winds had picked up and the snow was starting to accumulate. The forecasters had predicted a blizzard late afternoon/early evening, so I knew it was now or never! I bundled myself up in my warmest clothes, threw on my rain boots and off I went. I left my house feeling on top of the world, eager to explore my wonderfully transformed neighbourhood. Everywhere was just so beautiful. How much does snow change the landscape! I went to a famous shrine in the area, Gotokuji, and was blown away by how magnificent the wooden pagoda looked against all that white. THAT is really something not many people get to see!

It was all so magical but the weather was increasingly getting worse. A couple of hours later, I returned home; cold, wet and numb! I could barely press the shutter button on my camera. It was worth it though. The snow continued all afternoon, getting heavier and heavier. It finally came to an abrupt stop around 10:00pm, and was replaced by rain. Boo.

Snow Timeline

Snow Timeline

By Sunday morning, half of the snow had been washed away – either by the rain, or people cleaning up. The sun was out and the sky was blue. I was tempted to stay under my warm kotatsu (heated table), but all I could think about was going out to take more photos! Gotta make the most of every opportunity, right! So I headed to Shinjuku for the day.

The storm ended up being the worst to hit the region in 45 years. The 27cm of snow in Tokyo caused trains and buses to be cancelled, planes to be grounded, workplaces to shut down, and the whole city to go on lockdown. It was an epic 24-hour ‘snow apocalypse’!

Weather Forecasting, Japan Style

Take a look at this weather forecast…tenki-japan

This is weather forecasting, Japan style. You may have noticed it’s a little different. You’re probably wondering what are those strange pink ‘clouds’??

Well, get ready for it, this is what’s called the ‘Laundry Index’. It’s for all those hard-working people around the country who need to know on which day their laundry will dry the quickest, so they don’t come home to a clothes line full of half-soaked clothes.

And yes, I know you’re not silly, those pink things are not actually clouds, but T-shirts – cute, pink T-shirts. One T-shirt means there’s a less than 30% chance of your clothes drying outside… so, it’s best to either hang your laundry inside, or just put it off for another day. On the other end of the scale, five T-shirts mean it’s gonna be a beautiful day, so there’s a 90~100% chance of even thick clothes like jeans drying thoroughly!

Here’s a closer look at Tokyo’s forecast for today. At the top is the index for Monday (today) and Tuesday (tomorrow), then underneath is the rest of the week until Sunday.


Damn, looks like I should have done my laundry today. Oops!

Aside from the Laundry Index, weather sites also report on other necessary indexes.

For example, there’s the Going Out Index, which tells you if the day’s conditions are suitable or not for going out and about. This time it’s a cute yellow hat, with red ribbon. If you hadn’t caught on by now, this website is really aimed at females. I love the advice on this one… five hats means 一日いい天気、どこでもGO!  = It’ll be beautiful weather, so GO ANYWHERE!


There’s the Clothing Index. Hmm, do I need long-sleeves today, or is a T-shirt OK??


There’s the Car Washing Index. How quickly will my car dry after I wash it????
This is a serious one.


And finally, this one I swear you would not be able to find in any country other than Japan… the Beer Index. On what day will I best enjoy my beer? On a one-beer day, it’s gonna taste pretty average. On a three-beer day, it’s gonna taste gooooood. On a five-beer day, it’s gonna blow my mind!


Looks like everyday is a good beer day. Yes! :-)

These images were taken from