40 + 5 more ways to survive the rainy season in Japan

The rainy season (梅雨, つゆ) has arrived.

Bleak, gray, rainy season, or 梅雨
Apparently beginning 12 days earlier than last year in central Japan, according to tenki.jp, and also earlier than normal in southern Japan as well. Though it doesn’t feel all that humid yet. I typically associate the rainy season with tropical jungle-like humidity that makes you feel like you’re living in a sauna.

Don’t be fooled though - it will likely sneak up on us before we know it. For now, my pregnant self will enjoy the moderate temperatures and bearable humidity levels.

Oh, and for those who may not know, it doesn’t actually rain constantly during the rainy season in Japan - it will either spontaneously downpour or sometimes rain for a while in variations between sprinkling and heavier rain, with some breaks here and there.

Before coming to Japan, being from Seattle (U.S.), I rarely, if ever, used an umbrella. In fact, it’s usually quite easy to tell the difference between locals and tourists in Seattle for this very reason. (Everyone thinks it rains there all the time, but it doesn’t - it’s just cloudy most of the year).

So I came to Japan with no umbrella, figuring I could just buy one somewhere easily (but in no hurry). Except that my friend and I got caught in the rain on our second day here. Not Seattle drizzle we were familiar with. A downpour. Sheets of rain.

As we were outside with no cover, we were instantly soaked (as if we'd fallen into a pool or something), and spent the next 10 minutes or so running from building cover to building cover to the nearest convenience store to buy an umbrella. (With bystanders laughing at us good-naturedly, of course).

Of course, by the time we bought the umbrella and walked out of the store, the rain stopped. That’s Japan for you. Everyone gave us strange looks when we entered the hotel again, dripping all over the floor. Lesson learned: During the rainy season, Always. Carry. An umbrella.

So, in honor of the arrival of this year’s rainy season, I pull from the archives:

 40 tips to survive the rainy season in Japan 

There are also some good suggestions in the comments, so be sure to read those as well!

And of course, a few more to add:

41. Forget number 4 on the previous list - with all the energy conservation we should be doing, go out instead and share the A/C instead of using it at home. (Although with the temps the way they are right now there really isn’t much of a need for A/C...)

42. Check tenki.jp or yahoo to find out the expected laundry index for the next few days, so you know the optimal time to do laundry. (Although, keep in mind drying inside or using a dryer at the laundromat may be a better idea when it’s really humid or wet.)

43. Get out, travel, and boost Japan’s economy! Sure, the weather isn’t ideal, but travel is typically pretty low during this time - you may score some great deals and perhaps run into less crowds. Besides, some places in Japan look absolutely stunning in the rain and/or on cloudy days. Just carry an umbrella.

44. Pick up some hydrogen peroxide to help clean the mold that will accumulate - especially in your bathroom/shower area (hydrogen peroxide is kinder to the environment than bleach).

45. Mix up some vinegar+water - if you notice your clothes smell worse, particularly in the underarm area, spritz some vinegar mixed with water on the area right after you take off the shirt, then wash normally. I’ve found this to be helpful in combating underarm shirt smells. And hey, vinegar water is also excellent for natural cleaning around the house!

46. Avoid puddles and cars at bus stops - from @jaydeejapan

47. If you have oily skin, go out and get your self oil-control strips. Apart from a towel, this will help a great deal. - from bhatiavaibhav (in the comments below).

48. Try citrus! From @kirsty_girl: "I find eating a grapefruit in the morning helps.  I have no idea why."

49. Tea Tree oil fights mold and mildew - magicacorn says:
It works like magic to kill off and prevent the growth of mold and mildew on anything from cloth to wood to tile/grout. You just mix 1 tsp with one cup of water in a spray bottle and spritz away. The smell is fairly strong, but not unpleasant, and it does fade in a day or two. I sometimes even put a teaspoon or two in the washing machine if I have towels that smell musty. You can also use the oil for a ton of physical aliments too...what can I say? I love the stuff!
50. Use vinegar against gnats - Brandon (@pickmybran) says:
To get rid of them, you should mix apple cider vinegar (ringo-su) with water in a bowl and leave it near the problem area.
51. Be cool as a cucumber (and fruit!) - also recommended by Brandon:
Raw vegetables are a delicious treat in summer. Try summer squash, zucchini, various peppers, and even okra raw. They're healthy, but also, since they are not cooked, are cool in the mouth.
52. Throw a beach party! - May as well use the humidity as an excuse to add to a tropical atmosphere. Hat tip to Brandon.

53. [Your tip here]. After reading the first 40 tips, what other advice do you have to get through rainy season?

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