The longest day of the year has arrived, which means it’s the peak of summer season here in Japan! You wouldn’t think so considering grey skies dominate and beaches are yet to officially open. I always thought it amusing that even if it was a very hot day, 99% of Japanese people won’t go to the beach if it’s not officially beach season. I’ve been asked countless times if South Africa experiences four seasons, and thinking it a silly question I’d always say an astounding yes. After living here in Japan for nearly two years I think I view that question in an entirely different sense. It has allowed me to experience each season’s distinct foods, flora and festivals in all of their cultural pride. It’s honestly a pride and distinction unlike anything I’ve ever experienced at home. The year is actually further divided into 24 “sekki” which are given names that translate into things like “summer solstice”, “small heat” and “large heat”. These pictures I snapped in April can act as a final goodbye to Japanese spring and a hello to the “large heat” that will soon grace us with its sweaty presence!