“South Wind” in Japanese kanji characters is read hae. “East Wind” is kochi, “West Wind” is narai and “North Wind” is anaji. There seem to be many ways of naming winds. Even within the same “South Wind”, the wind that blows beneath dark, rainy clouds at the beginning of the rainy season is called kuro-hae or “Black South Wind”, and the one that occurs in the middle of the rainy season when the weather is rough is called ara-hae or “Rough South Wind”. Finally, when the rainy season is over, the wind that blows under a clear bright sky is called shira-hae, or “Fresh South Wind”. People in the past certainly had poetic perceptions of the world.

Once we pass mid-July, lotus flowers start to bloom. Ooga-hasu or “Ooga-Lotus” is what comes to mind when we think of lotuses. These lotus seeds were excavated from six meters underground at the Ochiai archeological site in Chiba City in 1951. The botanist Dr. Ichiro Ooga succeeded in germinating the ancient lotus from a few seeds dating to over 2,000 years ago.
This lotus now serves as the flower of Chiba City.

Lotuses grow in the mud, but their noble and beautiful flowers bloom nonetheless. There are people who liken this passage to one’s life; by going through hardships and suffering, one can flower like a beautiful lotus.
We hope to lead a life that is not tainted by mud even if we grow up in the mud.

When the field-grown bitter gourds known as a specialty of Okinawa begin to show up at local grocers, we know we are closing in on the height of Summer. Daydreaming about lotus flowers blooming in a scenic landscape of paradise, I will drink Nanpu Awamori spirits from Okinawa and then retire for a refreshing midsummer night’s dream.

In the old days, when June came around people living in Japanese-style houses changed their paper sliding doors to ones made of reed, and their screens to ones made of rattan. They also spread wicker or straw mats over their tatami mats to create a cool-looking interior décor for Summer.

It is difficult to do all this living in a flat in a big city, but at least we can change our containers for small items, our washing baskets, or our toy boxes to summery baskets. It is not only about how they look, but also about how good they feel to the touch and the pleasant summery feeling they bring. But I guess nowadays there are a lot of people who stick to baskets all year around.

Looking beyond our containers, how about switching your bag to a basket? Even this small change can make us feel rejuvenated and put us in a cheerful, exuberant mood.

BRONX Small Family Basket (Natural color): ¥19,440
Isetan Shinjuku Main Building 5th Floor Bedroom / Bathroom Goods

UCHINO Super Marshmallow Bath Towel Small: ¥3,780
Isetan Shinjuku Main Building 5th Floor Bedroom / Bathroom Goods

The treat we most look forward to enjoying after coming home hot and sticky is, of course, a good bath. What doubles the pleasure is Ofuro Sake, “Bath Sake” bath liquid. Just to reiterate – this isn’t drinking sake we’re talking about here - this is bath liquid.

Junmai-ginjo pure rice sake from a long-established sake brewery and salt from Australia are blended with sprinkles of gold leaf. It comes in a variety of fragrances including floral rose and refreshing yuzu.

After you get out of the tub embraced in a gentle aroma, gently wrap yourself in a light, marshmallow-soft towel. With these Ofuro Sake and Super Marshmallow towels, you are guaranteed a delightful summertime bath experience.

Bunraku Ofuro Sake (Rose, Yuzu): ¥1,404
Isetan Shinjuku Main Building 5th Floor Bedroom / Bathroom Goods
UCHINO Super Marshmallow Face Towel: ¥2,160
Isetan Shinjuku Main Building 5th Floor Bedroom / Bathroom Goods

A damp drizzly rainy day makes us feel somehow unmotivated. In Portland USA, it rains quite a lot from Autumn to Spring and it naturally makes people feel down, so locals ask their friends out for coffee or drinks to engage in friendly conversation and relieve their stress. That is how coffee and craft beer culture evolved in the area.

In the case of Japan, we have no worries since we have pickles.

If you nibble a whole seasonal cucumber that has been pickled with rice bran, you not only get just the right amount of sodium and water, but because it’s a fermented food, you also get plenty of lactic acid bacteria too. It will give you vigor to get through the rainy days.

Ginza Wakana rice bran pickled cucumbers: ¥216
Isetan Shinjuku Main Building 1st Basement Ginza Wakana
Nihombashi Mitsukoshi Main Store Main Building 1st Basement Floor Ginza Wakana
Ginza Mitsukoshi 2nd Basement Ginza Wakana

*All prices include sales tax