by

It’s hard to imagine a more boring topic than the weather. While weather is one of the most common topics of conversation, The Weather Channel competes with CSPAN for the channel that can put me to sleep the quickest.

Against all odds though, Japan has found a way to make the weather actually interesting.

Instead of just providing you with the most basic facts about the weather – temperature, humidity, precipitation – they spice up their weather forecasts in uniquely Japanese ways.

Let’s take a look at some of the most unusual and helpful weather forecasts out of Japan:

Cockroach Forecast

gakiten

Japan’s hot, humid summers are ideal for cockroaches, making them a disgustingly common sight during the summertime. How do you prepare yourself for the onslaught of creepy bugs?

One Japanese website provides you with a forecast of how active cockroaches will be in various areas across Japan. The forecast is called Gokiten, a portmanteau of the words for cockroach (gokiburi) and weather (tenki).

Gokiten measures on a scale of 1-4 how likely it is that the little buggers are up and about. If it’s cold, then you’ll probably score a 1 on the Gokiten scale — meaning that the cockroaches are fast asleep, hibernating. But if the Gokiten scale is at a 4 (the worst number ever), you’d better keep a fly swatter with you for the entire day.

Cherry Blossom Forecast

hanami-forecast

Cherry blossom viewings have long been a hallmark of Japanese culture; going to a park, basking in the splendor of the flowers, and getting absolutely plastered in the process.

The only problem is knowing when to go. Going too early or too late in the year can lead to an underwhelming experience.

Fortunately, some organizations in Japan track the ideal times for hanami, measuring peak blossoming using a mathematical equation and tracking the so-called cherry blossom front as it slowly moves from the south to the north of Japan.

Check the cherry blossom forecast, and you’ll be able to know which days you can go out and see the most blossoming trees, without all of the trouble of actually going outside and checking for yourself. A hikikomori dream come true!

Nabe Forecast

nabe-forecast

There’s nothing like a good ol’-fashioned nabe, or Japanese hot pot: you can cook virtually any food you want, and they help you warm up during the cold Japanese winters.

But how will you know whether or not you want nabe? You could just trust your own intuition and decide for yourself, but wouldn’t it just be safer to check out the nabe forecast and let Japan’s leading nabe-experts decide for you?

I think the answer is pretty clear.

Laundry Forecast

clothes-drying

Air drying clothes is pretty common practice in Japan — you’ll often see shirts drying out on apartment porches. But what if you somehow can’t gauge the weather, but can check the internet?

Fortunately, you can just check out the laundry forecast. It’ll tell you, on a scale of 1-5 hanging shirts, if it’s safe to hang your clothes out to dry, or if there’s a typhoon outside and you might want to wait for another time.


The list goes on and on. There’s a forecast for how bad the weather will be for your skin, how well you’ll be able to see the stars at night, and I’ve even seen beer forecasts during the warmer months.

Are these unusual forecasts actually useful at all? While a lot of these forecasts are basically just repackaging the basic information that any weather forecast can provide, I still appreciate them.

After all, these indexes make what is normally very boring information into something topical, novel, and relevant. It’s not a new idea — a lot of TV stations alter their weather forecasts to make them more interesting to their audiences.

So I applaud these different Japanese weather forecasts, even if they’re still lightyears behind cat forecasts.

  • DAVIDPD

    This is amazing. Another feather in the cap of Japan. Laundry, Nabe, and Roaches. Great.

  • http://twitter.com/xTenshiAi そら(^^)♥

    Cracked up at the Nabe Forecast XD

  • missingno15

    i literally lol’ed at the nabe forecast

  • Britt

    This is great! I love laundry and beer weather, but not so much cockroach weather.

  • 古戸ヱリカ

    Very informative article. I give it four long sleeved and one short sleeved hanging shirts out of a possible five desus.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AveryGoodgame Nick Hattan

    You make the best comments, you’re like a veteran of Tofugu XD

  • http://twitter.com/Scroteey Catherine

    The one that tracks the autumn leaves is useful!

  • http://twitter.com/shollum Shollum

    A flyswatter for cockroaches? Here, you need at least a boot, and that’s just for the small ones. If you’re like me, you always have chopped up roaches on the floor during the worst times, simply because you kill them faster than you clean them up…
    (and yes, I said chopped. I’m not taking any chances on crushing it on carpet, so I use a knife…)

    And from what I’ve read about Japanese bugs… Well, that is the birth place of Godzilla, after all. I wouldn’t be surprised if giant cockroaches start over running the defense force.
    *continues rambling about random things but doesn’t record them.*

  • Mescale

    新しいパンツを買いました。私の股はパンツの予報はいいです。

  • Mescale

    股の予報

    二パンツ

  • Hannah

    Some of these are silly, but there are definitely useful forecasts that are done. Most people turn to the sakura forecasts in spring to get a head start on hanami planning, especially if you’re going to travel out of your area. I don’t dry my clothes outside, but it probably takes into account chances for a sudden storm, temperature (I dry clothes inside, and in the winter they pretty much refrigerate at a certain point), and humidity, which could make it easier to decide if you should do a load before starting your day.
    We used the fall leaf predictions on Asahi Shinbun a lot this year to plan hikes. It made each trip great ’cause we knew the best times to go to each mountain. :)

    The nabe forecast seems pretty stupid, though. lol

  • http://zoomingjapan.com/ zoomingjapan

    Nothing new, though. I’ve been using the gokiburi forecast for a long time now XD
    It’s comforting to read about other people’s “encounters” when you just got attacked by the little monsters, too. ;)

  • http://twitter.com/squeekzoid Elsa

    I think the picture you have for the “cherry blossom forecast” is wrong. It says it’s tracking cedar pollen (for hay fever sufferers).

  • Flora

    I would definitely use the roach forecast – I hate the little buggers with a flaming, weapons-grade passion, so it’d be a great indicator of when to stock up on basil.

  • http://mistersanity.blogspot.com Jonadab

    > A flyswatter for cockroaches?

    These are probably Asian cockroaches. They’re significantly different from the ones we have in (most of) the States. Among other things, they are more commonly seen outdoors than indoors, which would explain why the weather people started reporting on them. Also, they take to their wings more readily than American roaches. The Asian roaches were inadvertently introduced to southern Florida and have become an invasive species there. There’s an old but fairly detailed article about them here:
    http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/10/03/2426546/they-fly-they-swarm-and-theyre.html
    (The author of that article mostly writes humor, but although this article has some humor in it, it’s mostly straight up reporting.)

    > I wouldn’t be surprised if giant cockroaches

    Actually, giant cockroaches are mostly found in Latin America, Africa, and, famously, Madagascar.

  • http://twitter.com/shollum Shollum

    Interesting info about the Asian cockroaches. And I was making an attempt at humor about the giant cockroaches since Japan is famous for giant things (usually fake), including bugs (Mothra, giant hornets, etc.).

  • crella

    My son splatters them with a pellet gun from the local toy store.

  • crella

    Ya, that’s the pollen forecast (damned pollen!)

  • crella

    Don’t forget the ‘degree of beer enjoyment forecast’ with the beer mugs on it!

    http://weather.nifty.com/cs/index-information/all-06/1.htm