Evening Cooling Meeting

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Friday night brought another party with another interesting name: yuusuzumikai (夕涼み会), literally translating the characters separately results in “evening cooling meeting”. This was more of a Kindergarten Summer Festival. Naomi, a Canadian friend, headed out there with me, which pleased the kids to no end. If one silly foreigner is good – two is better.

Summers here can be very hot and humid and the use of air-conditioning is a relatively modern lifestyle change. My house had no A/C when I rented it and I might have foregone installing any, were it not for the fact that I will be holding classes here. It is one choice for me to bear through, but another altogether to ask clients to do so. (After all, I was instrumental in pushing my original bosses to take better care of customers.)

Traditional cooling concepts turn out to be mostly mental, such as: screens that filter light to make it softer; or glass bells which give a cool tinkling sound. Some methods are more practical: aligning houses with the prevailing wind direction, so that screens at both ends can be opened for a breeze; or holding celebrations late at night. Residents of Seattle would probably find the evening weather a bit oppressive as well, but distracting oneself with lights, celebration, and fireworks without the sun beating down can be quite pleasant.

After the festival we had a bit of a drive back into the city, so we stopped for late dinner at a popular ramen shop in Ichishi. Some kids from the festival were there with there families, and a civil servant I know was also there. I chatted in English with his wife a little and complimented her ability.

When they departed they let us know that they paid our bill: sometimes it is nice to be known.

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