Tokyo Kills Me: Photos

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Ongoing Updates (5.23.18). Snapshots from daily life in and around Tokyo, a.k.a. “The Big Sushi,” at the end of the second millennium and the start of the third.

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Tokyo Rainy Season 2016

The tsuyu (“plum rain”) rainy season doesn’t kick off officially in Tokyo until June 8, but already a steady rain is falling from skies the colour of dirty rice water. And is forecast to continue to do so every day this week…

Actually, the weather changed abruptly around mid-morning Saturday, Tokyo time. Until then, we’d enjoyed a gloriously warm, sunny, relatively dry early summer – perfect for hanging laundry (just saying). Then, before noon, sombre grey clouds overcast the city, the temperature dropped — and my allergies went into overdrive.

Fortunately, Japan has very effective over-counter-allergy medicine. Unfortunately, the best of the weather may be behind us here in the Big Sushi – and the rest of Japan. The forecast is apparently for a “La Niña” climate cycle to replace the El Niño, bringing – yet another – record-breaking hot summer.

We won’t be alone. Apparently for the first time in history, the whole planet has been setting month after month of heat records since March of 2015, which is itself a record: never before have there been 12 consecutive months of record heat.

 

Tsuyu Rainy Season Day One

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June 8th is the official start of the tsuyu rainy season in Tokyo. Ironically, today is also the first break we’ve had from the rain in three days. Here some of my neighbours take advantage of the weather to… well i don’t know what they’re doing. Anyway, for those of you skeptical that there’s any countryside left in Tokyo, this is the scene R. and i passed today on the way tp the library and supermarket.

 

Here Comes the Rainy Season!

In Japanese, tsuyu or “plum rain”: fortunately, not because the raindrops are the size of plums but because rainy season corresponds to plum season. Mmm, plums! Like most produce grown in Japan, plums taste better here than they ever did back home in Canada. Sure, they’re more expensive (though not in the $100 for a square watermelon range), and only available in-season, but dang they’re good! I digress…

Yes, it’s a good thing the rain drops are normal-size, ’cause on a day like today there’s a lotta them. Forecast called for close to 160mm of rain in parts of Tokyo and area. I don’t know how close we are to that measure, but I do know that it’s been raining hard all day and all night, and I’ll be amazed if parts of the city aren’t flooded by tomorrow. If they aren’t flooded already…

Speaking of flooding, apparently Tokyo has this amazing underground waterway system of tunnels and silos, the largest in the world apparently, to help control flooding. Called the G-Cans Project, the system operates from nearby Saitama and the tunnels are open to tours, where you can, as the tour literature puts it, “feel the grandeur of the Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel.” Actually, the pictures look amazing, some kinda steam goth medieval science fiction setting. Maybe Ridley Scott’ll use it as the setting for his sequel to Prometheus