Heavenly Hydrangeas & the Hostile Humidity of Japan

I love taking random walks. You never know where they might lead you. I often take solitary walks because a good trek helps clear up the heavy clouds of my mind. June 22 was one of those days—thinking about what to do with the mold problem at home and frantically making lesson plans before final exams. I thought that a single patch of sunlight would cure my midweek blues. And I was right!

Kurakuen is one of my favorite places to go on weekdays. I like the family-owned coffee shops scattered around the river and the quiet park adorned by seasonal flowers. Kurakuen has an undeniably nostalgic feeling attached to it. I was extra lucky today because I came across these lovely hydrangeas during my walk! I had been meaning to visit a park that has hydrangeas for a while, so seeing them waving at me from afar was a pleasant surprise. 

It is the rainy season in Japan right now, and this is when hydrangeas bloom, as far as I know. Some sources say they may stop blooming in the heat of summer, which is true because I generally don’t see them after the rainy season. I don’t see many things in Japan during the summer heat—except mold! Mold has invaded our bedroom recently, and I’m not sure where else it hides. 

All in all, Japanese summers aren’t my favorite. They are boiling hot and dreadfully humid. Turkish summers, on the other hand, are more friendly. They are as hot as it gets, but the humidity depends on location and the proximity to the sea. I am from the northwest part of Turkey—a city called Kocaeli next to Istanbul. Yet, I don’t remember it being this humid, although it’s by the Marmara Sea. My mom says Antalya, a city in the south of Turkey, is also quite muggy during the summer.

I guess I miss Turkish summers. I miss the long night walks I used to take by the sea and the famous Turkish ice cream, a.k.a. dondurma! I know I’m being a food patriot right now, but the Turkish ice cream is fantastic. I like its hard texture and mastic gum, a rare ingredient used for Turkish ice cream. I have never heard of it being used in the desserts of East Asia. Well, that’s fair since I didn’t know the majority of ingredients used in East Asia before coming here, either!

I have lived in Japan since 2019, but it is still hard for me to deal with its summers. It would be great if I lived near a ravine or had readily available Turkish ice cream!

How do you cope with Japanese summers? What do you miss in your own country that you can’t get in Japan?

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