Painting is ‘Quiet rain - Japan’ by Chisho Maas
I’m sitting on what is turning into my favourite stoop, listening to the rain and I’m sheltered by our balcony above. It’s not that private as it looks straight out onto the road but it’s a quiet road. In fact the whole neighbourhood is quiet. It’s 9pm on a Saturday night and all I can hear are a few cars in the distance, the rain falling and causing dripping all around and swelling the river at the bottom of our road. It’s so close and so quiet we can hear it at night. It doesn’t feel like we’re in the middle of the city and yet apartment blocks twinkle their nighttime lights all around us.
It’s the rainy season here so rain isn’t that surprising but was is nice is that the humidity is letting up for us.... some days at least. Sometimes it’s just sticky and you feel like you forgot to dry when getting out of the shower. Sometimes there’s a wonderfully cool breeze and the rain lifts the air and it becomes fresh with that summer rain smell. That’s how it is tonight. I’m sitting next to my citronella plant so I’m getting wafts of that, freshly wet ground and well, summer.
At times like this I feel incredibly lucky to live in such a fabulous city. On my stoop I don’t feel like I have to hide from the neighbours and I feel safe. That is a wonderful thing about Japan - it is safe. Ok there are incidents because nowhere is perfect but it is easy to sit out the front of your house and the worst you going to get is a strange look. Nagoya feels like the Japanese Bristol. We felt safe there too. We’ve been very lucky to call two lovely city’s our home.
One thing I do find a bit odd here is that people don’t use their gardens often. They garden and quite a lot. The lady opposite us has a wonderful garden on top of her garage. It’s a brilliant use of space. See this is what I find odd - the Japanese are clever with space. They may only have small gardens or balconies but they use them well and nearly every space people have, even if that’s just a driveway, has pots and plants on it. I think it’s a privacy thing. I think the Japanese like to either be in public such as out in a park or in their own space. I have seen two people actually sitting on their balconies since we’ve been here. I was talking to another Brit the other day who also lives here and has become a good friend. She was saying she found it odd too. But then in the U.K. summer is fleeting and the heat doesn’t last. Here it can get too hot and humid to be outside in the summer. But the spring was lovely and warm enough to enjoy being outside but not humid and I’m told (though obviously yet to experience) autumn is similar. Maybe the Japanese don’t give themselves time to sit on their favourite stoop and listen to the rain. They are a very hard working people.
There are bats flying now. They weave amongst the lampposts and power lines. The dance together as my husband says. I like seeing the wildlife here. The small gardens, power lines and buildings don’t deter them. Maybe because it’s just so green. There are some huge cicadas that are currently making a lot of noise hidden in the treetops. They’re incredibly loud. We thought it was an alarm when we first heard it!
Well the rain has stopped and as much as I love my stoop I also love my sofa. I’m heading in now but I know I’ll be back. It’s too intriguing not to.