Hail Me!

You’re never too old to learn.

As spring approaches, relatively warm air currents blow up from the south, but for the next month or so we can expect gales as high and low pressure cells battle it out across the Kanto Plain.

Riding to work during a strong northerly is not much fun, mostly because north is the direction I most need to travel.  Picking up speed going downhill becomes difficult…


Grey clouds cover the sky above me, but I can see the edge and clear sky further north.  Even the mountains in Gunma are visible.

Streaks start whizzing down, but there is no sign of rain.  Then I realise that it’s hail.


Japanese has two words for hail.

One is arare (), the other is hyo ().

Consulting a couple of dictionaries, I finally learn the difference.

Arare is small hailstones (the Bureau of Meteorology defines it as less than 5mm in diameter) that fall in autumn or winter.  Hyo are larger hailstones that fall in spring or summer.


I’ve learned something new.

I was caught in arare.

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