Natsu no Nihongo!

Ase Daku    汗だく
Literally “Dripping with sweat.” Imagine an oji-san draped over a bowl of gyudon slurping it back as he wipes the sweat off his forehead and uses it to swirl his barcode back in place. That’s ase daku.

Atsui Desu Ne?   暑いですね?
Straight out of the “No Shit Sherlock” phrasebook we have this old locution meant to alert you to the fact that – just in case you hadn’t noticed – it is fucking hot. Also available in the winter variety “Samui desu ne!”

Natsubate 夏バテ
Natsubate, essentially “summer heat fatigue”, is a common complaint during the hot months. It is derived from Natsu (summer) and bateru (exhausted). The long list of causes for the condition range from a deficiency of body water and minerals – probably from sweating like Sarah Palin at a spelling bee – to constantly moving between air-conditioned rooms and the boiling weather outside.

Inkintamushi 陰金田虫
The precise etymology of this fun summer word has exceeded our google search capacity. However most likely it is derived from inkin (private gold) and mushi (bug). Just do your retinas a favor and don’t go doing an image search on this one. Suffice it to say sweaty gonads can lead to jock itch. So if you’ve been suffering in silence now you know what to say at the drug store.

Mizumushi 水虫
The foot version of inkintamushi. Here the word is derived from mizu (water) and mushi (bug). The fun begins between your toes. The best part is that you can share with almost anyone who walks where your smelly trotters have been. Commonly gifted at swimming pool locker rooms and public bathing areas.

Mukade  ムカデ
The infamous mukade is basically a killer centipede. Here is a basic rundown of the fun you can have with them: “Symptoms of a bite include pain, erythema, edema, lymphangitis, lymphadenitis, weakness, and paresthesias. Skin necrosis may occur at the site of envenomation during the weeks following the sting.” You know they mean business when, unlike any other bug, they show no fear, and walk towards you.

Ume-shu  梅酒
Ume-shu is a summer beverage made from green plums fermented in alcohol. The Japanese plum is known for it’s cooling properties and alcohol is known for getting you drunk. The combination of getting drunk and cooling down seems unbeatable. Just don’t over-indulge as ume-shu is sometimes made with the Japanese equivalent of everclear. The more potent home brews can have an adverse affect on your ability to speak coherently or engage in normal bodily functions such as opening your eyes and standing.

Unagi うなぎ
Everyone will tell you that unagi (eel) is a summer dish you simply have to eat because it is rich in protein, vitamin A and E. It is said that unagi gives people stamina on hot days. Don’t be put off by the fact that it is a carnivore that looks like a snake.

Reimen 冷麺
Reimen is derived from the words rei (cold) and men (noodles) and comes in a wide variety of dishes. You can have have everything from cold ramen, cold udon, cold soba and even cold pasta. The current “Cold Boom” has led to some freaky concoctions aimed at grabbing publicity. Cold konyaku noodles with tuna sauce served in a bowl made from watermelon? Err… no thanks.

Semi セミ
In Japan, the semi (cicada) emerges from the ground to sing every summer. They only live for a short period of time – long enough to attract a mate with their song and complete the process of fertilization – leaving behind an empty shell. Think of them as the Charisma men of the insect world.

Zansho  残暑
Just when things start to cool down in Japan the weather will unexpectedly turn hotter than a bicycle “borrowed” by a gaijin. This late summer swicharoo is known in the local lingo as zansho.

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