JAPAN: ‘Tis the Season

June brings to Japan longer days, warmer weather, and another guest that is not always so welcome: the seasonal rain front otherwise known as 梅雨, tsuyu, the rainy season.

The Japanese use characters that mean “plum” and “rain” to describe this mini-season that lasts between four and six weeks. Perhaps a more appropriate name, though, would be hot-and-humid-children-inside-too-much-mommy-going-crazy rain. (One day I think I’ll write a letter to the prime minister suggesting the name change….) (more…)

Melanie Oda (Japan)

If you ask Melanie Oda where she is from, she will answer "Georgia." (Unless you ask her in Japanese. Then she will say "America.") It sounds nice, and it's a one-word answer, which is what most people expect. The truth is more complex. She moved around several small towns in the south growing up. Such is life when your father is a Southern Baptist preacher of the hellfire and brimstone variety. She came to Japan in 2000 as an assistant language teacher, and has never managed to leave. She currently resides in Yokohama, on the outskirts of Tokyo (but please don't tell anyone she described it that way! Citizens of Yokohama have a lot of pride). No one is more surprised to find her here, married to a Japanese man and with two bilingual children (aged four and seven), than herself. And possibly her mother. You can read more about her misadventures in Asia on her blog, HamakkoMommy.

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