In Matsue (and the Izumo region in general), anything can be given an En-Musubi (縁結び) label.

To break it down, “en” (縁) is our ties to one another–something like fate. The verb “musu(bu)” (結) means to mind or entwine things together. Therefore, a translation for “En-Musubi” can range from “fated encounters” to “match-making.” While it can include any kind of ties we might have with any person, it is especially associated with finding your soulmate, and there are famous En-Musubi spots all around the region. As it is used in many forms, you’ll probably see the phrase get used a lot here, and yes, there are reasons for why the region is so wrapped up in this: En-musubi is what all the gods get together to discuss while they are having their meeting at Izumo Taisha during Kamiarizuki!

Seeing as we’re all a little tangled in all this En out here, even the rain in Matsue is full of it. That’s why it’s called “Enishizuku” (drops of En):

Since it reaches everyone at the same time, touches everything from nature to man-made structures, we are all bound together by the drops of water… Well, that’s a charming way to think about it, I guess. Even my laundry gets to soak up a bunch of En.

In my experience all of Japan gets a lot of rain, but it seems Matsue is particularly well known for having a lot of rain, and the rain at Lake Shinji has been a poetic topic for many visiting writers. It’s not quite like a typhoon when we get storms here, and while Lake Shinji isn’t as violent as the sea, it certainly puts on a show when the wind picks up. Every thirty years or so Matsue gets a flooding problem, but the worst I’ve seen has been the parking lot in front of my apartment–seeing as that part of town was a marsh back in the Edo era.

Matsue has recently started a public umbrella-sharing program. Since a lot of buildings have places to leave your umbrella when you enter, inevitably a lot of them are forgotten if it looks clear again when you leave (I’ve done this a few times. I really miss one of those umbrellas…!). Participating locations put those forgotten umbrellas in specially marked umbrella stands, and anyone who needs them can take them. I haven’t needed to yet, but I’m sure it will come in handy someday!

Well, whether the weather is cold or whether the weather is hot, we’ll weather the weather whether we like it or not. While rain is not my personal cup of tea, I do enjoy all the moats and rivers and lake views around town. That’s why it’s sometimes called the Venice of Japan–but more commonly called the Mizu-no-Miyako: The City of Water.

…and En-musubi.