Over the past month, the weather in Shizuoka has made tiny, barely noticeable changes. From a slightly cooler breeze in the evenings, to a slowly dropping percentage of humidity, we finally reached something resembling “fall” this morning, when yesterday’s typhoon left the air feeling fresh and clean, thin to breathe. I am still wearing a summer sundress, though. “Fall” (quotations highly necessary) in Shizuoka really is nothing like the autumns of my home state.
Nebraska is known for its quickly changing weather — high 70s and sunny one day, low 40s and cloudy the next. Even in the cold days of my childhood summers, I could be found at the pool, chattering with blue lips while the lifeguards twirled whistles with their sweatshirts on. Raise the temperature by 10 to 15 degrees, and this is “fall” in Shizuoka. It reminds me of early summer mornings in Nebraska, when the dew is still on the grass and you know that by 11, its going to be a hot one — but right now? Right now, it’s the perfect combination of friendly sun and cool breeze. You’re not sweating, but you don’t need a jacket, either.
Despite the fact that the tree leaves begin to turn and nature appears as if winter is around the corner, it’s still hot here. I’m still wearing tank tops and shorts, and I probably won’t get my jeans out of storage until November. After nearly six years, I’m getting used to it a little, and I’ve stopped caring that I’m still wearing my American summer clothes while everyone else here is starting to pull out leggings, scarves, and black sweaters (not kidding, seriously).
But I still long for a Nebraska autumn, waking to a chill in the morning that necessitates a jacket on the way out of the house — and then by lunch, you’re sitting in the grass, feeling a little hot in your T-shirt. In a few days, perhaps, you’ll need to dig out your gloves for that car ride to work, and soups, apple ciders, and pumpkin-spice-everything will start playing with your senses. I miss being cold in the sunlight, crunching leaves under shoes instead of flip flops. I miss sitting on the porch in the evenings, needing that hot drink to keep your hands warm. I always listened to old Coldplay albums in the fall — Parachutes, A Rush of Blood to the Head — and would busy myself with reorganizing my inside world, readying it for our return from a summer spent playing outside. In Shizuoka, so far, summer means being inside or at the pool or river — and I can’t handle the pool or the hour drive to the river with three littles every day, so we spend a lot of time in our house, looking out the window at the sun and wishing the humidity were not so dreadful. Even in the house, in the rooms without air conditioning, the humidity of july and august would leave fabrics feelings wet to the touch, sweat an immediate response from leaving a cooled room.
Today feels like summer in Nebraska, but I’m learning to recognize it as Shizuoka autumn. And I’m praying — please, God! — let it get cooler than this before the end of October. Because this is my favorite season, and missing it every year is somewhat of a letdown.