Now don’t hate me, but I have been craving the arrival of the rains for some weeks now. I know, I know, spring is a delightful time of year in Japan and I should savour it while it lasts, but I just can’t. I think it’s partly that the season starts so gloriously with all those cherry blossoms that the following weeks just cannot impress me. Plus this year, raging hay fever has most certainly turned me a little against spring, and maybe my roots in the UK’s perennially drizzly north are also a factor; I just really feel the need for a good old storm. I took a day this weekend to prepare for the impending downpours. I did four loads of washing to make sure I won’t run out of socks for a good few weeks. I also – heavily medicated against pollen – ventured out to enjoy one more spring time bout of blossom viewing before lashings of rain tear the petals away. For this I chose Osaka’s Utsubo Park where you can find a spectacular rose garden, literally buzzing with life. It was the perfect way to bid goodbye to spring.


The one thing I don’t like about June is the lack of long weekends. May spoiled me with Golden Week, before that it was spring vacation and now I have to wait until July for another free day? It’s just too much! Seriously though, we are incredibly pampered with the national holidays in Japan, and that’s set to improve even more in 2016. The government has just announced creation of Mountain Day, an extra day off in August. Ostensibly this is to celebrate Japan’s most significant mountains, but word on the street is that it is a last ditch effort to help Japan’s overworked who refuse to take their allocated leave. We know our colleagues take a different attitude to the gold dust we call nenkyu and eke out with the greatest care, but for a nation to create a whole new national holiday to avoid attempting going to the root of the problem seems like short-sighted madness to me. Or perhaps that’s just the nenkyu-envy talking.

We may not have any extra national holidays to while away reading, but the rains may keep you cooped up indoors a little more this month. Enjoy that time in perusal of this month’s issue in which we have a real variety of articles: Sean is helping us all to sound like knowledgeable football fans ahead of the World Cup, Dana’s introducing the finer points of her beloved bento box, Cherie and I have eaten many many burgers on your behalf, plus our ever topical current affairs section, Kicchiri Kitchen, Where are they now? and more!


Until next month,