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12/14/2014

WEATHER IN TOKYO: SEEING THAT BLUE SKY FOR MYSELF

For the longest time, I thought Tokyo was a city plagued by endless gray skies and rain; at least, that’s what Google image search always showed me. Even in the many documentaries I’ve seen on the city prior to coming here, barely a trace of blue could be seen in its skies. With that in mind, I still arrived on September 16th excited to begin my adventure as a study abroad student in Japan, though there was a lingering feeling of dread for the persisting ugly weather I had heard so much about. With that in mind however, one thing I certainly didn’t expect was for Japan to show me the bluest sky I’d ever seen.

 My home school is the University of Southern California, located in a city that’s known for its pretty Californian sky: good ol’ Los Angeles. I used to have to embark upon a 15 minute walk to campus from my apartment every morning; so needless to say, I’ve grown used to seeing pretty sunrises on my way to school. In addition to that, no combination of words could accurately reflect how much I dislike cloudy and rainy days (the latter especially); I could win the lottery during a drizzle and still feel upset.

So, one could only imagine how dismayed I was upon hearing that Tokyo was to endure a massive day-long typhoon within the first week of school; even the fact that all my classes for the day had been cancelled was no consolation. I spent the whole day doing what I usually do when the rain comes to destroy my happiness: surfing the internet in my room with the curtains drawn. At one point, I fell asleep, and then woke up to this:

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I couldn’t stop my camera arm. Surely, this kind of weather only happens when the planets are perfectly aligned or something; it went contrary with everything I had heard about Japanese weather, so I was understandably desperate to immortalize the moment through photos.

There’s something to be said about weather so good it merits its own blog post, and I’m sure many readers would say that I’m being a little too excited about something seemingly mundane. In my defense however, I feel like Japan – in spite of being a modern city of concrete and glass through and through – offers one a unique environment to experience nature. A look at the city of Tokyo from a bird’s eye view reveals that for every patch of gray, there is also a fair amount of green. Modern civilization exists in harmony with nature, and aesthetically, the two really contrast and complement each other, to the point where even an Angelino such as myself would have a difficult time not marveling at great weather. My favorite place to watch the sunset is at this place called Kitano Shrine. On a day when there’s a festival, this is what that sight looks like:

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 The best part is, I get to see this more often than I see gray skies. The weather in Tokyo is erratic, and the occasional rainy day still brings me down, but whenever the sun takes the stage, boy does it brighten up the city. And to be honest, I’m more than a little bummed out that I won’t be around during the spring to see how much prettier the sky will grow. I guess the moral of this blog post is: whilst internet research certainly does help you get a good idea of what a place might be like, nothing beats seeing the real thing with your own eyes.

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