Monday, June 14, 2010

Heated Toilet Seat in 30 degree Summer Heat, or Creature Comforts: You’re doing it wrong.

I imagine I feel somewhat like the intrepid explorers heading west into the unexplored Amazon basin in centuries past: my feet are wet and covered in open sores, I’m overheating to the point of exhaustion, the natives aren’t friendly, and I have some mountain climbing ahead of me.

It is official: The rainy season has begun. According to the Japanamen I’ve spoken to about this, (which is a lot, they love to talk about weather, so my vocabulary in that topic is nearly complete) we didn’t get much of a spring/early summer season. It was unnaturally cold for a long time (which suited me just fine – 15-20 degrees isn’t unnaturally cold to me, where I come from we call that perfect refreshing T-shirt weather) and then suddenly now it’s insanely hot and humid and rainy. I distinctly recall about one year ago (it seems like an age of the earth has passed since this time) periodically checking the weather in Japan just to see what I was getting myself into. I remember weeks and weeks where I would see a string of “Thunder Storm” icons on my iPhone weather app every day. Along with temperatures in the high 20s and low 30s. I now find myself in the same boat. I woke up on Monday morning (not at all refreshed – I had gone to sleep maybe 3 hours before) and looked at the weather to find the familiar row of thunderstorms and sweltering heat for the next week – and likely beyond. Since sick days count against my paid holidays (and I’ve already used them all up for my Korea trip in August) I didn’t let the ensuing wave of revulsion and depression keep me from rolling (literally – its an advantage to sleeping on the floor) out of bed and into another day.

Little tangent here. Shortly before I left Canada my shoes were beginning to fall apart, so I tossed them and went back to an older pair that still fit and hadn’t been used much. In retrospect this was a very bad move considering I only brought one pair of real shoes with me (I brought some Nike Frees, but they’re woefully inadequate for water protection, and don’t look like safety shoes, so I can’t pretend like they’re steel toed and get out of wearing the tiny hard pieces of shit they provided me here) and hence wear them nearly every day. Well as expected, these shoes are now falling apart and completely water permeable. I need new ones but definitely can’t buy them here (size 13 American, approximately 31.5 Japanese – nigh unheard of here) so I guess I’m stuck until I head back and buy me some fresh new Pumas. To continue on the shoe/foot tangent a bit longer, on Sunday I was craving me some Golden Mango (one of my Waterloo haunts – cheap Thai food place) so I found a place with good reviews in nearby Yokohama and headed out. It was a beautiful day, and quite dry, so I decided to pull out my sandals which I haven’t worn since my Ishigaki trip in March. There was a lot of walking involved in finding this Thai restaurant, and going to the only open-during-the-weekend post office in the ward on my way, so when I returned – tired and satiated from a magnificently large and only slightly depressing meal of Pad Thai with spring rolls – I found sores from a couple pressure points which had lost their sandal-calluses from last summer. Now fastforward to 2 days later after wearing wet and hot shoes all day, and I’ve got myself a problem. They’re open and red and oozing and really not something you want to read about on a blog in the morning. I got some bandaids though, (can you think of a word for bandaid that isn’t a brand? I had trouble explaining this one to a Nipponese… adhesive bandage?) so hopefully they heal up good, but for the moment there are serious pains in my feet. Maybe I should talk to the chiropodist of the family.

Anyway, where was I? Something about bad weather and thunderstorms – they’re bad and I don’t have the shoes for them. The rainy season is officially my worst favourite season. Winter was fantastic and warm. Now its so hot and humid. Once it starts to rain, you're like "yay, its raining!" and you hope the humidity will go away. Then the humidity comes right back and punches you in the face with its energy legs. And the rain is WARM. WARM RAIN DO NOT LIKE. The only rain which should be warm is chocolate rain. (Youtube meme density for this paragraph: above average)

Oh ya, heated toilet seat. This thing is a god-send during the wintery months, but when its 30 degrees outside and nearly that inside (the bathrooms aren’t eakon-ed, wtf?) it’s a most disturbing and uncomfortable feeling. Thankfully my office space is cooled to almost chilly levels, and I control the AC in my lab, so things aren’t so bad once I get inside. Walking home and to work in the morning are going to be terrible though. I told my boss that the weather today was pretty much as hot/humid as it ever gets in Canada, and he got worried – saying that it was going to get much, much worse.

Great, Saita-san. 素晴-fucking-らしい.

Oh, and the mountain climbing I have ahead is Fuji-san, in the beginning of July. I'm looking forward to it big time.

View of Mount Fuji from my dorm balcony. Taken during sakura bloom in April.

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