After many years of living in this wonderful country I have come to understand the change of seasons quite well. People proudly state that Japan has four seasons and I must say that I agree with this. But what does this mean, for a place to have four seasons? Aren’t there four seasons everywhere? Yes and no. Canada has them, but the balance is slightly in favour of winter- winter in Canada is very long, spring and autumn are average in length. Summer however, is a little shorter than in more southern countries. We definitely have summer in Canada- my mother swims in the ocean every day throughout the summer, which she says is from the 1st of July til the 31st of August. On the flip-side, most people are stuck in their houses for the snowy season, which lasts from December through March. So in Canada, winter is 4 months, summer is 2. Spring and autumn are the usual 3. In Japan, we truly have balance. Cold winter is about 3 months, sunny spring is about 3 months, hot & humid summer likewise, and autumn too.
I, however, would like to add a newly defined season which occurs twice a year, in spring and in fall. I call this the “open window season“, that perfect time when neither air conditioner nor heater is needed, and we can keep the windows open for most of the day. At our house in Ishiyama and at our English conversation school in front of JR Otsu station, we have a general rule to not use the air-conditioner after September 1st and to not use the heater until after November 1st. Today is October 30th, and I am comfortable in a polo shirt and slacks sitting by the open window with the rays of the sun warming me. With a cup of tea beside me and my students cheerfully chatting away in front of me, I feel true bliss. Thank you open window season, I look forward to seeing you again in spring, sometime around March 1st!
Smith’s School of English Otsu