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:
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
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!
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.
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.