They warned me that it gets hot in Osaka during the July and August months. They were not kidding.
It is hot, HOT, HOT and humid, and we have figured out why the Ocean Day Holiday ritual yesterday took place at 4:30 a.m.! Because that’s when you go out, or in the evening, avoiding the pounding rays and intense humidity and heat of the city.
Now I love heat, having escaped 38 years of winter of my life in Colorado. I will take heat over cold any day! I lived in the heat of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands for two years. The heat cranked up at the end of August and seared through September, finally relenting by late October. I got used to it, mostly, the kids complaining so they piled into my room and we slept with the air conditioning on.
I acclimated easier it seemed, especially since it cost a small fortune to run AC in the USVI. I remember having a Halloween party for my daughter’s Sixth Grade class during Hurricane Sandy, which was pounding New York then, sucking up all the air and leaving it completely still and suffocating on the island. All my Goddess Kali costume make-up just slid off, and one becomes immobile from the heat. So when we moved to Florida, it was not hot to me, and I left the AC off a lot, something Americans just don’t know how to do, turn off the AC. It sure saves your skin!
Ditto in Buenos Aires where we lived for five months before moving to the USVI or Florida where I met my husband. By December it was a heat wave, the city feeling like a microwave heating your guts from the inside out, and my son even got heat stroke, even though I begged him to drink lots of water (those kids.) Deal with that when you’re a single mom in a foreign country! Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love book has nothing on me! She had no problems. We left Buenos Aires just in time by the time January hit, as do all the city dwellers to the beaches. But it was not humid like here. So Osaka is the HOTTEST I’ve ever experienced
Women in Osaka wear visors and hats with UV protection and lots of umbrellas are seen on the street to shade their lovely skin and just cut down on the sheer intensity of the sun’s rays on the asphalt and cement. The weather predicted rain all weekend and more, but it has yet to transpire. Reuters reported how Asia will really suffer under climate change, If we don’t all die first from the Fukushima nuclear plant water being dumped into the sea. I’m more likely to die from sleeplessness and crankiness from the hot flashes I still get from menopause.
But I live in the moment. I’m not worried about that nor earthquakes nor North Korea. I lived through too much on my Mythic Yoga Journey™ to ever worry about death or going broke or anything again. Staring into the abyss is liberation. There are millions of ways to die, and since I believe in reincarnation and deathlessness anyways, I just don’t worry and chant mantra should fears arise (and sometimes they still do in the middle of the night. I had been a single mom doing everything myself and sleeping alone mostly for 14 long years.) That’s how Mythic Yoga got started anyways; it was a matter of survival.
We spent the long weekend attempting to walk around in the heat and get to know our neighborhood, soaking up the fine architecture or aromas that range from caramelized sugar to fish to curry to cigarette smoke. I started feeling heat prostration, bloated and exhausted, so I’m laying low now, writing and just doing errands at night, being a domestic goddess as I continue familiarizing myself with Osaka and adjusting to life in Japan while hubby is a salary man now, working hard and long hours.
And I love being a domestic goddess. I’m the original Householder Yogini. I gave up the perceived rewards of capitalism that have gripped yoga in the United States so that I could indulge in being a mindful homemaker and take care of my kids, who are now awesome and rocking and independent and smart because I did. Because economy in Greek means household thrift, and me and my husband’s values are to live in harmony with nature, not against it. And Japan has those values of living in harmony with nature – pure nirvana!
Besides the heat, I have been adjusting nicely, checking out with hubby the gigantic Don Quijote discount store in Dontonburi to look for household items as well as the Tokyu Hands in the Shinsaibashi neighborhood adjacent to hours. We are just looking for now, as these mega-stores can be overwhelming too. Beautiful goods everywhere, a sensory overload of choice and escalators going up, up, up vertically seven or more floors in these mega shopping centers. But the frugal, non-consumer me always planning for a while before a purchase and thinking of what I can do without or maybe still ship from the U.S.
This weekend we found more great vegetarian and vegan restaurants close to home we will patronize when I’m not indulging in my make-from-scratch talents, and I will write about them individually in separate blog posts. (My 19-year-old son back in DeLand, Florida is baking gourmet pizzas from scratch!) Glad to see people are getting healthier in the world, such as in Germany, citizens eschewing pork for health reasons, unlike obese Americans sucking on dead pig carcasses more than ever. (You are what you eat…..)
I sincerely love our Shinmachi neighborhood, quaint little shops with plants and objects galore left out that nobody would even think of stealing. I got a hair cut at Capelli Malena salon across the street from our apartment. They didn’t speak any English and our Japanese lessons don’t start till next week, but I managed to communicate anyways and get a great cut!
Nancy from ReLo Japan has been helping with the language and set the initial appointment and introduced me to other places, like the Hot Yoga studio on the corner. I can walk a block to the Life Grocery store where there is only a bicycle parking lot, not car parking lot, and no fat people either! No need for a car! Taxis are ubiquitous and subways stops too. (Although Steve says some cars can be sweltering during rush hours.)
Nancy also took me to get a phone. I usually take my kids’ hand-me downs, but broke down to get an I-phone 7 because the SIM card couldn’t be transferred and I do need internet, Google maps and translate and more! It’s a fresh start too, cause the Luddite I am can barely understand anything technical without massive frustrations (BREATHE) and help from the hubby. (My son is SOOOOOO glad I met Steve!) And my old phone and computer are OLD, and a mess. So. REBIRTH!
I’m going out later to pick up some fresh bread from the local bakery to the left of the apartment (You can actually have a small business in Japan still, unlike in the U.S.A.) and try to find some vinegar to use with newspapers to clean mirrors and glass with and do a little housekeeping here. We did buy a clothes line to dry our clothes with. We may live on the 35th floor, but we are just like everybody else. We care about our environment and our ego is not wrapped up in what we have nor do we waste time desiring it to keep up with the conformists in society.
So my day is cut out for me today, after I do my morning writing work. I have started my online Mythic Yoga classes with clientele from India and the U.S, and working on finishing my book, and writing this blog and more sharing the mindful life in Japan as well as all the amazing Shinto and Buddhist shrines that dot the city, a serene respite from the mundane world. I am working on getting a part-time work visa too and then I will be looking to do some live kids Storytime Yoga® English as a Second Language classes.
The Tenjin Matsuri festival, largest in Osaka, is next week. Love all the ritual and festivals that sustain people’s lives with a living mythology. Will blog about that too!
Till next time!
Sydney, In Osaka.