Something that caught my attention today…
Spring was over as soon as it started, a couple of weeks of manically Instagramming cherry blossom while craning over the heads of everyone else in the city. Temperatures leapt from single figures to double overnight, returning briefly to winter for the one freak day where it snowed in the west and lashed down with rain in the east. I spent the day checking out photos of snowy cherry blossom on social media from the cafe where I holed up. When the city resurfaced, most of the local blossom was gone.
And today, it was ten degrees warmer again, a high of 26. Students arrived to class covered in sweat. I quietly steamed inside my wool cardigan.
Heat, as Japan has taught me, is sapping. Everything takes that much more effort, like swimming in a particularly viscous treacle that’s bubbling on a gas burner. Perhaps rather than heat I should say humidity, because that’s the kicker. That’s what turns a pleasant 26 degrees into a shimmering heat haze. That’s what turns a bearable 32 into a reason to hug the shadows and duck into air conditioning whenever possible. That’s what lands hundreds of people in hospital – or worse, the mortuary – when temperatures top 35.
People back in Wales don’t really get it when I say that it is “too hot”. Hot is a universal good, a holy grail to be sought on foreign holidays that you return from proudly pink, still hot to the touch.