Monday, June 27, 2016

The wet weather of a rainy season

Across eleven days from late May to the middle weeks of June each year, the Japan Meteorological Agency traces the path of the fifth season as the Mei-Yu weather front progresses east from southern Kyushu to the borders of Tokyo and then on northward, at the rate of a brisk morning walk. Although not all that wet, indeed it's more often sunny that gloomy, Rainy Season is measured and reported on a daily basis including in some years the uncommon, though not unknown, statement when it fails to come to an orderly close.

The temperature sees a modest dip following the on-set of summer real in the middle of May and indeed it actually becomes quite pleasant in advance of the stifling heat of summer. So if you are thinking of a quick trip, there are worse times than now to experience the country. And this is where the problems begin. The government's target was to receive 20 million guests by the time of the Olympics in 2020, but, and much to the ministry's surprise, this number has already been achieved in 2016. And the hotels are full. In fact, Tokyo is full and creaking at the seams.

And so the question becomes one of how will the country cope as the number accelerates toward unimagined levels. The soaring yen will assist in dampening the spirit and indeed both Beijing and London actually saw falls in traffic during their Olympiads as people stayed away assuming the worst. However the current plan to convert 10,000 love hotels to regular guest facilities does somewhat smack of desperation. Though possibly it is also a reflection of collapsing birth rate of the country. And, of course, it is now raining.


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