Rainy season, plum sauce
June is rainy season in Japan.
I know this, because the sudden storm that blazed over Osaka last night was intense. June 1st, massive rainy thunderstorm. It arrived without notice, dropped some lightning to freak us all out, and was gone by morning.
I also know this storm was particularly bad, because friends who've lived here for years were terrified. I heard tale of the wind confidently brushing the supermarket's automatic doors aside, laying waste to a domino line of bicycles on the way. Yeah, that'd terrify me.
The Japanese word for 'rainy season' is 'tsuyu'. (梅雨) Written with the kanji for 'plum' and 'rain', both with unusual readings. It's both plum season and rain season right now. It's plum rainy, or something like that.
It's called a 'season', when in fact it's more or less just June. A month-ish of downpours, and then we can go back to melting in the summer heat and humidity.
Okay, it doesn't rain every single day. More like a week's worth of cloud pelts down from the sky in the space of 4 hours. Joined by some thunder and lightning for good measure.
You'd think some rain would be a refreshing change. Not this rain. This rain was out for bruises and dignity. It filled my shoes, stuck my skirt to my legs, and turned my hair into a nest. I don't know if you've ever had to wring out your socks on a busy train platform. I have now. It's not as fun as it sounds.
I'm more familiar with 'tsuyu' as a sauce - 汁 or つゆ - dark umami liquid for dipping noodles or making noodle soup. If that started falling out of the sky, I wouldn't know whether to grab an umbrella or some udon.