You know that feeling you get when it’s so humid outside that you literally feel like you’re swimming through the air? Oh, you don’t? Well, you’ve obviously never lived in Japan. As I sit here in this non-air conditioned room at school (Let’s be eco-friendly everyone! No, let’s not, it’s freaking boiling in here!), the thermometers reads 33 degrees Celsius (91 Fahrenheit) and 80% humidity.
It’s the dog days of summer in Nihon right now, and man oh man is it hot!
During this time, people in Japan traditionally send暑中見舞い(shochuu mimai), summer greeting cards. 暑中means “mid-summer” and 見舞いmeans “get-well letter.” It is basically a postcard wishing the recipient good health during the mid-summer days. Many of the messages are friendly greetings and comments about the unbearable heat, but they all dance around the tone of “please don’t die because it’s hot enough to kill you right now.”
And it really is hot enough to kill. Every week on the news, there are announcements that someone has died because of heat stroke (they are almost always elderly folks). Because of the dangers of Japan’s hot weather, there are constant reminders over the intercom in our living room to be careful of heat stroke and to be sure to drink enough water and sports drinks.
So happy summer everyone! Khoa and I are sending you shochuu mimai -esque thoughts, wishing you good health in these hot mid-summer days.
And for those of you back home in sunny, but not too hot and definitely not humid California right now…I hate you.