Dear Readers,

I hope this edition of our newsletter finds you all fit and well. Over the last couple of days the temperature here in Tokyo has been almost bearable for this time of year, it’s been hovering between 25 and 26 degrees, which is honestly still too hot for my melanin shy skin; according to the weather forecast as the weekend approaches the temperature is going to climb to about 31/32 degrees: the summers here in Japan makes me long to return to the summers I experienced as a kid growing up in the UK. I’ll grant you that there was always that uncertainty that it may thunder and lighten and then bucket down with rain or even hailstone at any given moment, but that somehow added to the whole British summertime affair, the rain would cool a hot day down, not that there were ever that many hot days to cool down, but it was the only sort of summer I knew; well, apart from holidaying for a couple of weeks in places like Spain and Greece, which, in terms of weather quality, you cannot really compare to countries like the UK.

I haven’t had a summer back in the UK for must be going on 10 odd years now, so before the natural cooling and warming of our planet puts UK weather on a par with the weather in countries like Spain and Greece then I think I’d better get back there pretty sharpish. The thing that I liked about summers back home was being able to sleep at night without having to have air conditioners or fans switched on, to begin with people in the UK don’t have air conditioners or even fans really, we simply don’t need them, unlike this country where you really need to have them switched on a permanent basis when it gets into the early to mid-thirties.

How I hate summers in Japan and long for the summers that as a kid back in the UK I got lost in, got into trouble in; got bored in; explored in; got wet, very wet in; got occasionally sun tanned in; had intimate relationships in; drove around and scootered in, but most of all got to know and find myself in. Lots and lots of happy memories of growing up and spending the very unpredictable yet predictable summers that the UK had to offer going through from the early sixties right the way through to when I eventually decided, which was in the very early nineties, that in order to increase my life expectancy it was necessary to try to seek out a country to live in which had on offer consistently better weather, and to be fair for the most part I found it in Japan. However, if I could, which I can’t, I would go back to the good old predictably unpredictable weather that I grew up with in the UK every summer and just enjoy the perspire free existence that I used to know once upon a time. .

The summers I remember growing up in
How I desperately want to escape summers in Japan.
Japanese summers are not suitable for this melanin lacking British man.
I return to the UK to enjoy summers there as and when I can.
10 years have passed since I last experienced a summer in the UK.
It wasn’t the whole summer I spent there last time, it was just for 6 or 7 days.
I returned to visit my mother who comfortably now lives alone.
She is in good mental and physical health and she can do most things for herself.
She has paid company that drops into her home for 30 minutes every day to make sure she’s okay.
Company care workers that drop in and have a natter about this and that.
She used to have two visits a day in the beginning, but she now has one.
The care workers don’t visit when I’m at home, but they start again as soon as I’ve gone.
Summers in the UK beckon me to stay there longer than at any other time of the year.
I like the warm and sunny yet rainy unpredictability of summertime weather in the UK.
One minute the sun is brightly shining in the sky and the next dark heavy, almost bladder filled, clouds forcibly push the sun into the background.
Then the sound and then smell of summer rain as it lightly or heavily falls from the sky to cool down and replenish what’s below it.
I most miss the smell of the warmth mixed with the cool fragrant smells from the surrounding rain sodden flora and fauna.
Adults and kids having legged it to find shelter as soon as the rain started to spit, now relatively dry and under cover waiting for the show to begin.
Large and small faces of all sizes and shapes from surrounding places, some huddled together watching birds winging it and insects and animals of all descriptions darting to take cover from the rain and the noise of the thunder followed by the danger of lightning.
Some animals and insects of course remain unbothered, stopping fearlessly to receive and unwrap nature’s gift from the skies.
The rumbles of thunder and cracks of lightning, lots of frightened kids looking up into the cloudy expansive grey,
almost shark dark lifeless eye of the sky letting out its cries that it knows it’s too damn hot and it needs to cool down
what it watches over and what it surrounds.
Such is how I remember the summers growing up in my hometown.
A poem by Stephen Austwick.