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How to spend the Japanese rainy season with comfort

Gabriela has just moved to Japan due to her husband’s job transfer. She is concerned about tsuyu (rainy season) she has to go through in Japan for the first time. She wants to ask some questions to her neighbor, Hanako.

Gabriela

I have heard that tsuyu usually lasts over a month. I feel a little depressed already.
Hanako
So you don’t have a rainy season in your home?

Gabriela

We do, but they are different from those in Japan. Typically, we have showers only for a few hours in the afternoon, and then the temperature drops.

Hanako

I see. Here, we have a series of cloudy and rainy days throughout the season.

Gabriela

I am concerned about high humidity. Is there anything I should be aware of during this season?

Hanako

You definitely want to avoid kabi (molds). Once you let them grow, it takes work to get rid of them. It is a good idea to make it a habit to wipe off moisture in areas such as the bathroom, washroom, and kitchen. Keeping a ventilation fan on helps reduce moisture in the room. You can use the dehumidifier function of air conditioners as well.

Gabriela

With the humidity so high, I suppose I should also do something to prevent odors and smells.

Hanako

Right. Bacteria love a humid environment and grow quickly to cause bad smells. During this season, especially, you don’t want to leave kitchen garbage in the house for too long. To dry wet shoes faster, it is a good idea to put a ball of crumpled newspaper inside the shoes.

Gabriela

I see. I was also told that I need to take extra care when preparing lunch for my kids to take to school.

Hanako

You should use ice packs and insulated lunch bags if you don’t already. Pack thoroughly-cooked foods only, and avoid watery items. You may also want to use such ingredients as vinegar and umeboshi (pickled plums), which are said to help with preserving food.

Gabriela

I didn’t know about such a good use of umeboshi!

Gabriela is not very excited about rainy days. She asks Hanako for advice of how she can spend gloomy days happily.

Gabriela
Do you feel down when rainy days continue?

Hanako

Sure, that would slow me down too.
Gabriela
What would you do then to change your negative feelings?

Hanako

A light exercise works best for me. I do some stretching exercises until I start sweating a little, and that would make me feel really refreshed. I would also go swimming at a nearby sports gym or enjoy dancing occasionally as well.

Gabriela

That sounds wonderful! I wish I were active like you—I often get a headache when it rains and that discourages me to get up and move.
Hanako
You don’t have to force yourself to go out on such a day. Just relax and take it easy at home by listening to nice music or watching a favorite DVD.

Gabriela

Sure. I will do my best to stay relaxed.

Hanako

If you continue to focus on the negative sides of the rainy season, it would only worsen your depressed feeling. To cheer yourself up, how about shopping for your favorite piece of rain gear that you would look forward to wearing on a next rainy day?

Gabriela

That’s a great idea. I would enjoy going out in rain better if have a colorful raincoat to put on.
Hanako
Would you like to go shopping now? We can also check out other fun “rainy day” items, such as umbrellas, rain boots, anti-mold cleaning tools, nice music CDs, and so on.

Gabriela

Sure, I would love to! I don’t feel like I have to worry too much about tsuyu anymore, thank you!