Wednesday, July 14, 2010

日本の夏 (japanese summer)

As it starts to heat up here in the Bay Area, I am becoming nostalgic for the Japanese summer.

  1. 冷やし中華 (hiyashi-chūka). My favorite type of ramen that is only available in the summertime: cold noodles, with a soy-vinegar broth, topped with ham, cucumbers, and egg (although there are some slight variations).

  2. 紫陽花 (ajisai, or hydrangea). I cannot express how overwhelming it was hiking down to Hase-dera to be confronted with a wall of this:

    Hillside of ajisai (hydrangea)
    Hydrangea is still the only flower I know the name of in Japanese.

  3. 麦茶 or むぎ茶 (mugicha, or roasted barley tea). The official start of summer in Japan for me was when the hot drinks the vending machines would be replaced by this.

  4. ビアガーデン (beer garden). Usually on the roofs of large department stores or hotels, they are often all-you-can-drink (nomihodai) and all-you-can-eat (tabehodai) for a certain amount of time during the day. You'd think drinking beer in the sun accompanied by a ton of greasy food would be disgusting, but it's not. It's spectacular.

  5. 花火 (hanabi, or fireworks). Although we have fireworks here in the U.S., it's really one for one night only. Japan has a rolling cataclysm of fireworks throughout the summer, usually with a major show. The last one I saw was accompanied by the sweet sculptural rhythms of Aqua.

    Hanabi = Fire of Flowers
    photo by Kurt Laitenberger (Flickr: KurtFML)


Molly said...

Ah, summer. I would LOVE to see summer in Japan. Or any season in Japan for that matter. :)

My summer is consisting of my living room. Not too shabby compared to my cubicle. But I'm getting bored.

madichan said...

I'm pretty sure you would love Japan. And yes, any season.

And your living room is at least spacious and pretty. Nothing like staring at a cubicle wall for 6 hours a day to make you wish for windows.