I’ve lived in a total of 5 cities in my 25 years on this Earth and every place has had a distinctive set of weather phenomena that seem to define my time there. Auckland = brief afternoon showers every day in summer and 3 months of straight rain in winter. McLean, Virginia = pretty stable with the odd heat wave in summer and cold snap in winter, if I remember rightly. Dunedin = sunny, crisp frosty winters. Wellington = WIND, nothing like a good bit of wind to make your walk down Willis Street to work and enjoyable experience. Takaoka, Toyama, Japan = unpredictable as a woman with PMS and windier than Wellington at times.
Now, I am no meteorologist but I know what I observe and this post is going to be about what I observe comparing Auckland, Wellington and Takaoka.
A grand total of 18 years of having a home base (more than that now if I count the number of years my parents have owned a house there) in Auckland taught me what to expect there. Never leave home without your umbrella but if you do it’s ok because it’s just a passing shower.
8 months (yes it was that short) based in Wellington taught me the following. Never leave home without your hair tied back, hairbrush in your handbag and coat over your arm because if the weather changes, and it will, you will need to be prepared for it. Always leave home WITHOUT your umbrella though. The second you open it there will be a massive gust of wind rendering the umbrella dead in a second. Upon arriving at work your hair will require restyling and the outer layer of your clothes may need to be placed over a heater to dry out.
Takaoka is quite similar to Wellington in many ways except for the fact that the wind swirls and gets stronger and stronger and stronger with each gust. I’ve never experienced anything like it. Even Wellington’s wind is not as crazy as Takaoka’s. It feels like it blows constantly here. Every nice day you get there is at least a little bit of wind. Rain without wind appears to be almost impossible. That in itself creates issues for me because I hate breaking amazing umbrellas, and a lot of Japanese umbrellas are fantastic. There’s a cultural aspect to it too. Umbrellas have always been a status symbol here so if you give up on your umbrella you clearly have no class. The idea that there is no point in using your umbrella if it’s windy would never occur to Japanese people, nope you must endure the best you can. I quite often cruise into work wet to the sound of nervous laughter. I don't mind though, I'm from a place that's also windy and raining, 'tis only water, I won't melt.
There is not much more I can say about the weather here in Takaoka other than that my time growing up in New Zealand as a kid has taught me to appreciate that if you live on an island you must always be prepared for anything. Auckland taught me to expect rain. Wellington taught me to respect the wind. Takaoka is teaching me that if you expect rain but then disrespect the wind by opening your umbrella, you are going to have fun times fixing it (my umbrella was a gift from my father when he was last in Takaoka so it will be getting fixed, I just need the right tools). In conclusion; crazy weather makes life interesting! Yesterday was fine and slightly windy today is wet and very windy... my life is interesting...
This photo is not the umbrella that broke this morning, this was taken last April around the same time. :S It actually did bend like that, but it was only ¥100 and not a gift, so I tossed it.