Tokyo, too Posted on February 12, 2019

I was just wondering whether there was anything original, or helpful, I could say about yo-yoing temperatures (Friday -5’, Monday +10’) when my faithful correspondent in Japan sent me evidence that we are not alone.

“Yesterday (3 Feb)’, she wrote, “between the winter solstice and vernal equinox, was a special day to mark the coming of spring, usually just wishful thinking.  But indeed it came full-scale.   It was 19 degrees today around noon, the warmest ever in Tokyo for this date.   It would have been normal to have snow.   Temperatures are expected to plunge to 4 degrees tomorrow morning.

“For this seasonal event, families with small children throw roasted soy beans outside to scare off demons.  Homes in western Japan put out branches of Osmanthus heterophyllus with heads of cooked sardines on the spiny leaves to drive away bad spirits.  Maybe similar to garlic against Count Dracula.  When strange things happen, like 19 degrees in February, old, totally illogical customs might paradoxically be our last resort to try to make sense.”

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