The first and most important thing any visitor from Japan needs to know about Ireland is that summer is not hot. Summer there is cool and often wet – the Irish are always complaining about the rain – but it is never hot as we understand the word in Tokyo. In Ireland I actually had to do some exercise to sweat. In Japan I simply have to step outside and the sweat starts forming droplets on every pore within seconds.
The second thing I noticed was that it did not get dark until after ten in the evening. It is much farther north than Japan so the summer days are much longer. Parents there can finish work and go and watch their children play a game in the evening. I went to watch my seventeen-year-old cousin play a hurling match that started at seven p.m. It ended around nine p.m. and they never needed to turn on the lights.
The Irish use the term “twilight” quite often. The time between sunset and dark is so long that they play a match in the twilight or do the shopping in the twilight. Twilight or dusk is a few minutes in Tokyo but a few hours in Ireland so it took a while to get used to the idea that I should go to bed as soon as it got dark. The longer days allowed us to do a lot more sightseeing than I had expected, but it also kept us busier. The next time I visit my relatives there, I will have to go a little bit slower, as the Irish do.