Kyoto Summers and Informative Alarm Clocks

Fail prediction in previous blog – actually got to be 40 (Celsius … again) degrees yesterday where I was. Good thing we were inside in air-conditioning through the worst of it. Keeping in mind it was still around 36, 37 degrees at quarter to five in the evening. Not the most pleasant thing in the world, but as the air was dry, it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. Usually, where I am, heat means humidity. Yesterday, thankfully, that wasn’t the case. Not sure I could handle that much heat with added intense water thick in the lungs.

Generally, I prefer humidity over dryness. That’s not only because it’s awful trying to sing in dry air. Drove about two hours inland once for a choir concert, and my throat pretty much exploded by the end of it. Think I was making funny, unintelligible rasping noises in the final number. But no, humidity is not only preferable because it’s more soothing on the singing tools. It’s because that’s what I know (and I don’t like feeling as moisture is entirely sucked out of my lips, and as they start to chap, as I feel right now … licking at them is not helping).

I think that’s why Kyoto summers never worried me so much as they might have troubled a few English teachers from Britain and North America. It got quite hot – maybe not quite as hot as Queensland – but the humidity was at the I’m-somehow-breathing-a-lake-and-swimming-through-the-air level. Not usually quite that humid here. My lovely, very informative alarm clock tells me so.

Right now, a few days into summer, this lovely clock I bought for a little over 1000 yen from Konan – the equivalent of Big W or Kmart in Australia (maybe Walmart in the US?) – says humidity’s currently at 21 per-cent. Usually it’s fairly higher than that, but as I said, having a bit of a dry spell right now. During Kyoto summers, I don’t recall ever seeing it below 70 per-cent, and I’m sure it hit 100 numerous times.

I’ve talked about weather and temperature, but can only think of once when I’ve included the amount of water in the air in a story – my Kien novel, the one that’s done and currently being rejected left, right, and centre. Such fun. Currently attempting to divide it into volumes, but I’ve already sent it most of the agents I’ve researched in full form. I’m not sure they’d look at the first quarter of the same story again. Anyway, humidity: in the third chapter of the first volume – originally the first chapter, though was the second chapter for the longest time – it is a particularly hot spring day in the middle of Brisbane’s October, and it’s mentioned on the radio that humidity is already at 100% in the early morning and not looking to drop.

That’s something to consider, I suppose, in building the aura of a world. For trying to capture the feeling of far-off locations and bring them to life, particularly for fantasy worlds, which can only be brought to life in words, not in photographs as Cairo streets or Malaysian rainforests may be, unless said words are recreated in film or pictures. On reflection, I think I did mention the humidity in my tribal village and the surrounding grasslands – events occur there during the rainy season. Rarely is there ever rainfall less than a steady drizzle, and it’s always stiflingly warm. This gets to Kien a little, as he comes from a very cool, quite dry home – the humidity in his city, I imagine, is carefully controlled, kept at a pleasant, comfortable level.

Perhaps I should mention that, briefly, when he’s battling with his uncomfortable new surrounds. Split into four volumes, I can afford a few extra words on humidity to better sculpt these worlds.

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