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Rain, With A Chance Of Laundry


Weather reports in Japan are far more useful than weather reports where I come from: they tell you whether you ought to do laundry or not. Because few people have clothes dryers at home, whether you hang your laundry out to dry on the balcony before you go to school or work is a serious question. The two little shirts on that first line of my weather app told me there was 100% chance of damp laundry by the time I returned, if I hung my stuff up outside. It didn’t need to add that this would result in a greater than average chance of nose-wrinkling mildew odor. And the second line basically says, “Don’t be an idiot. Take your umbrella.”

Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Tokyo

When Detective Kenji Nakamura’s phone rings with the news that his mother’s death wasn’t an accident, his life begins to unravel…read more

Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

4 thoughts on “Rain, With A Chance Of Laundry Leave a comment

  1. Might look a bit corny, but the symbols and images used to deliver information are great.

    Few word but us visitors can interpret these messages pretty easily

    • I do love that it reminds you of the laundry implications, but I’ve still to figure out the significance of the number “30.” Why 30? The Japanese written below clearly warns you not to hang clothes outside because there’s a 100% chance of rain, but does the 30 mean that there’s a 30% chance they’ll dry anyway? None of my Japanese friends could figure it out either!

    • I was totally surprised by that too, so I asked a few friends! One thing is, people live in really small apartments, so there’s barely room for one big appliance, let alone two. If you have to choose, it’s a lot easier to dry clothes outside than wash them by hand! They do have these weird combo washer-dryers, but they take FOR-E-VER and chew up tons of energy. After the 3/11 Tōhoku earthquake and a renewed awareness of Japan’s dependence on nuclear power, lots of people are really trying to reduce their energy footprint so they won’t need it anymore. Hence, damp clothes on the balcony!

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