One thing you learn about Japan pretty quickly is, what a seasonal place it is, with people doing different things at different times of year. It's summer now, time to enjoy traditional activities like listening to the soft sound of fuurin (Japanese wind chimes) as the wind blows in and watching fireworks at the Tanabata Festival while people mill around wearing yukata and eating shaved ice. If you are male and live with a female, you can expect to have your share of what I call "air-con wars" over what temperature the room should be, with females shivering at anything below 27 degrees C (80 degrees F) while males like me instead prefer that the temperature be cold enough to see your breath. Summer is also the season to eat one of my favorite dishes, hiyashi-chuka, essentially cold ramen-style noodles in a tangy sauce, with things like scrambled egg, ham, crab and cucumber on it, a dish I've never come across in the U.S., although it must be available at some Japanese establishments. Restaurants only offer this dish in the summer months, and when summer is over it's off the menu, letting you know that the season has finally ended and Autumn has arrived. While I'm never too sad to see the heat and humidity of Japan's summer go, seeing that hiyashi-chuka is no longer available at my favorite restaurant always brings a tiny pang of sadness to me.