Rainy Season is Upon Us

Rain season started with a literal bang on Monday.  The first few days were just wet, but by Wednesday there was flooding and a danger of landslides.  Train service was suspended in the northern part of the prefecture (where I live) yesterday afternoon, which meant that a lot of students had to have their parents come get them.  Our parking lot as well as most surrounding parking lots were packed with parents by the end of the day.  There was thunder and lightning to top it all off.

And yet, as I biked to school that morning, knowing that my rain gear was doing surprisingly little to protect me against the storm, I found myself grinning.  In all of the ridiculousness, I was having fun.  I love playing in the rain and I like it even more when it’s warm.  After getting over the fact that I was going to have wet hair and soggy shoes for the rest of the day, I found that I was really, truly happy.

I don’t know where it’s from (other than my mom, but I’m sure it has an actual source), but whenever it rains, one song comes to mind.  The lyrics are simple and straight to the point: “Ducks like rain.  Ducks like rain.  Ducks like to splishy splashy in the rain.”  There might be more lyrics, but really, you’ve got all you need with that one line.  It’s best sung repetitively while jumping in the largest puddles you can find.  The song was playing in my head as I was making my way to work in what can only be described as “nature’s shower.”  I’m pretty sure my hair was wetter from that ride than it is when I’m in the shower.

The fact that everyone thought I was super cool and resilient for being able to bike-swim a whole 7 minutes to work definitely helped.  But rainy season is just another obstacle that I’m learning to embrace.  When I first arrived in the midst of summer I soon discovered that being sweaty at work was going to be a commonplace thing.  No matter how many changes of clothes I brought or how slowly I biked, I was going to be drenched by the end of the day.

By mid-August I had learned to simply accept that gross state.  Mind you, I still took two showers a day, but there’s only so much you can do at work.  I got smart about storing an extra sweat towel in my desk and I knew what I could and could not wear.

And like when I first arrived, I’ll figure out the tricks for getting through rainy season.  I already have a rain suit and I’ll have rain boots soon as well.  I’ll probably start leaving some extra clothes in the changing room at work, as well as a normal sized towel.  To top it off, a new backpack that I bought just happened to come with a rain cover, so that’s bound to get a lot of use in the coming weeks.

Here are Jodi’s Handy Tips for Surviving Rainy Season:

  1. Invest in a good rain suit.  Make sure it’s one that you can move in easily and doesn’t get too swampy.  Mine is a pair of rain pants I bought here and my rain jacket from home.
  2. If you bring your laptop to work, get a neoprene case.  Especially if you aren’t sure about your bag’s water resistant properties.
  3. Pack an extra pair of socks and a towel in a plastic bag.  Make sure to tie the bag closed.
  4. Really think about if you need to go to the conbini or not.  Can you avoid leaving the apartment?  Have you avoided leaving the apartment for a few days now?  Still, is it really worth it?
  5. No one will ever know what you’re wearing under your rain pants unless you plan on taking them off.  If you’re running somewhere where you’ll just wear them in (much to the chagrin of the shopkeepers, I’m sure) opt for shorts.  Even then, as long as it’s not work, probably best to opt for shorts.
  6. Above all else, wear your helmet if you have one.  I’ve gotten kind of lax about wearing mine normally, but I never ride my bike without it if it’s raining.  The number of things that could wrong goes up exponentially when it’s raining or when the roads are slick. Also, visor on my helmet is really useful at keeping at least some of the water out of my eyes.  And, besides, everyone at work thinks my helmet is either cool or amusing.  Either way, people get a smile out of it.

I’ll leave you with a brief clip from the day of the ridiculous rain:

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