雨・Ame・Rain

あめ あめ ふれ ふれ ame ame fure fure

Yesterday was an 雨の日(ame no hi), rainy day. Days like this, in this heat and high humidity, remind me of tsuyu, Japan’s rainy season that occurs in June. Sometimes, this time of year, it feels like we also experience our own tsuyu in North Carolina. I don’t know why we don’t just name it so.

While it rained, I put some pieces in the indigo dye pot. After removing them from the vat, and unfolding the pieces revealed yellowing greens that were slowly changing over to indigo. The high humidity though, slowed the oxidation process, so it took longer than usual for that change. It gave me the chance to record some of that process and to enjoy the colors, however fleeting.

So, it was a day around soaking, sopping, dripping, soggy wet things – inside and out.  Outside, the leaves were dripping from the pouring rain and water was running down the driveway and trickling down the street. Inside my garage, fabric was soaking in the vat, then later, the soggy pieces were dripping from the drying rack.

On days like these, a familiar word or expression often comes to mind: 濡れている(nureteiru)-it’s wet, or びっしょりぬれている (bisshōri nureteiru)-it’s soaking wet. To me, nothing quite captures the qualities of water like these words do.

In a short language exploration last night, I discovered there are quite a few words and expressions around the topic. Lately, this hot humid weather is 蒸し暑い-mushi atsui. To get wet is ぬれる-nureru. To soak cloth in a dye, though, is布を染料に浸す – nuno o senryo ni hitasu. The word senryo contains the character 染 (some/zome) which means “to dye.” Another pronunciation of the same character, in a similar context is shimikomu – 染み込む. It means “to soak into” or “permeate.” These are only a few examples from my brief research, needless to say, there is much more to be discovered.

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6 Responses to “雨・Ame・Rain”

  1. neki rivera Says:

    wonderful post!
    雨 my all time favorite kanji, beautifully graphic and so evocative.

  2. whereishenow Says:

    it’s rainy season in nagasaki… dark and wet all day today… and the house is moldy, wet yucky stinky….. uggggg…..

    • Susan Says:

      I remember that incredible humidity and the mold, not to mention the insects. When we lived in Kagoshima our backyard would fill at least a foot high or more with water. We thought it was like having a pool (we were kids!) in the backyard, but of course it really wasn’t.

    • shiborigirl Says:

      i remember opening the door to go outside when we lived in base housing in Yokohama and having the hot humid air smack you in the face as you left the AC of the house. we had the dehumidifiers running 24/7. it not only smacked you in the face but sucked the breath right out of you.
      previously we had lived off base and just dealt with it.
      as kids we would just go out and play in the rain. more fun than sweating it out on a day with 90+ degrees and 95% humidity.

      hang in there…

      • Susan Says:

        Thank you! NC feels the same in the summer – energy sapping these days. I recall the days when we didn’t have air conditioners (when I was a kid) and am grateful for what we have. However, I don’t like being indoors all the time – thank goodness for dye vats and clotheslines!

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