The Rainy Season in Japan – Vocabulary

The rainy season starts around the first days of June in the Kanto area therefore it is about to start in Tokyo too. Actually it has already rained in the past few days but we are not officially there yet.

The rainy season lasts six weeks, from the beginning of June to mid-July, then it is time for the humid and super hot Japanese summer. Personally I rather get wet under the rain than soak in my own sweaty clothes but that’s another story.

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You might think it is not the best to live 6 weeks under pouring water but it is not the case. Actually, looking at the statistics, it rains much more in September than during the rainy season. Why do they call it the rainy season then? Well, as I understand it, it is not the fact that it is raining all the time but rather the fact that it looks like it is about to rain any moment.  The sky is dark and gloomy and the wind humid. Most of the times there are just showers, enough for letting me thank my boyfriend for forcing me to carry an umbrella every single time I step outside.Umbrella 2Now let’s learn some vocabulary for the rainy season.

1 梅雨 – Tsuyu
The Japanese word for rainy season 梅雨 (つゆ) is made by two kanji, the first means plum and the second rain so that the word can be literally translated as plum rain since the rainy season coincides with the season of plum picking.

2 梅雨前線 – Baiuzensen
The rainy season begins in early May in Okinawa and slowly the rain front, the 梅雨前線 (ばいうぜんせん) moves up towards the north in Tohoku where the rainy season begins mid June and lasts only 4 weeks.

3 雨 – Ame
Ame, rain, one of the most used words in Japan, not only during the rainy season, but all year around given the special interest the Japanese have towards the weather. The kanji 雨 (あめ) represents a cloud with four drops of water falling down from it.

4 曇り- Kumori
During the rainy season the sky is often cloudy 曇り (くもり).

5 湿度 – Shitsudo
It is the same during the Japanese Summer, the worst thing is not the rain or the heat, the worst thing is humidity 湿度 (しつど) that makes everything sticky and uncomfortable. At least for me, maybe somebody likes it. Maybe. Somebody.

6 夕立 - Yuudachi
One of the best moments of the day, windows open, the smell of the rain, something to drink, a good beer for example, and the evening rain showers 夕立 (ゆうだち). If you are in Japan during the rainy season I suggest trying enjoy the moment.

7 大雨 – Ooame
This word means heavy rain and it written with the kanji meaning big  (おお) and the kanji meaning rain   (あめ).

8 台風 – Taifuu
Sometimes there are typhoons during the rainy season and it can be quite scary. Try to stay indoors if you can.  台風 (たいふう)

9 傘 – Kasa
One of the first kanji I learned 傘 (かさ) umbrella, it has quite a number of strokes so it made me feel proud of myself, it represents an umbrella with four people under it, maybe old times umbrellas were big enough to host four people under them.

10 梅雨晴 – Tsuyubare
Even during the rainy season sometimes the sun peeps out, the word 梅雨晴 (つゆばれ) means sunny spell during the rainy season. This is one of the many Japanese words expressing a particular moment or feeling that do not exist in other languages. 

11 梅雨明け – Tsuyuake
Like Tsuyubare also 梅雨明け (つゆあけ) Tsuyuake expresses a particular moment, it is the end of the rainy season.

Bonus word: てるてる坊主 Teru teru bouzu
Do you know Teru teru bozu? They are simple dolls made usually of cotton for the head and cloth for the body, they are usually hand made by children, young adults and Japan lovers like me.  Hang your Teru teru bozu and it will call the sun for you! Actually I am a rain lover but it is fun and easy to make a Teru teru bozu, if you want to try Polkaros offers a great tutorial.
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 Feeling like you would like to learn more words? There are more than 50 words for rain in Japan, JapanTalk has collected them all, check ’em out!

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