I used to think it was my imagination, but after living here for almost 10 years I'm convinced it's true. Tokyo has no spring or fall. This year was a good example. It was still summery only about 2 weeks ago and I could walk around outside in a t-shirt. Now suddenly, the temperature has fallen, and I get chilled just sitting around in my apartment. Winter's here, but what happened to autumn?
When my students here talk about 4 seasons, I always make a point of correcting them. Other parts of Japan might have 4 seasons, but the Tokyo area has 3: winter, rainy and summer; and none of them are enjoyable.
Here's a brief description:
You can't really call winter here 'winter' because a) there is rarely any snow and b) the temperature almost never goes below zero. However given the fact that seemingly none of the apartment buildings around here are built with insulation or central heating, but instead rely on weak little floor heaters and air conditioners that only heat up a corner of a room, winter here seems colder and more miserable than necessary.
Can be considered a season because it lasts almost two months. Fortunately it doesn't rain every single day, and some years are much better than others, but as a general rule of thumb, if you make any outdoor plans for a weekend, they will get rained out. Rainy season is also the beginning of Tokyo's wonderful humidity, which can almost be considered a season in itself.
Like I said, this season could be named 'humidity' without any misunderstanding. By far, at least for me, the worst of the three. I've nothing against hot weather at the beach or a park, or when I'm wearing shorts and sandals, but Tokyo's concreteness seems to take all that heat and magnify it so it's like you're in a sweat oven. Add wearing a business shirt and pants and you've got yourself a depressing combination.
My hometown of Ottawa is a classic example of a city with 4 real seasons. Notice how the seasons gradually merge into each other, there is no abrupt shift like in Tokyo:
I'd be interested to know if it's just me and I'm overreacting, or if others in Japan feel the same way?