Autumn has come and with it autumn leaves! A nice little paradox if ever there was one.
Jolineys of Keeping Track tagged me in a lovely post about Fall and asked me to participate. I will do my best to answer the questions relevant to me but am going to add a few of my own and go off on a slight Japan tangent on the way.
Fall or Autumn
The letter A all the way. Being from “down under” we are a commonwealth country and use “Queen’s English” interspersed with Kiwi slang and flat vowel sounds! It is also “aki” to me in Japanese. The Kanji for aki reminds me of the firey red foliage seen in Japanese gardens and mountainsides, as the left hand side of this particular character means fire.
Favourite candle scent
Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate
I am a tea girl all the way. I do succumb to the occasional hot chocolate but always think afterwards I would have preferred a tea. It is a little strange that I am living in the land of green tea but one thing that I always purchase at home to bring back to Japan is my Dilmah Green Tea and Lemongrass!
Favourite Thanksgiving food
Thanksgiving is a new thing to me. I was invited to my first thanksgiving her in Japan by a good friend who is from the States. She went the whole hog or should I say turkey! Her cranberry orange sauce really impressed me. I loved the family and friend type atmosphere. The gathering of loved ones with out all the stress of Christmas shopping!
Most worn sweater
Travelling as I do I have slowly but surely discarded all my big bulky sweaters. I have several pieces of Icebreaker clothing which is an amazing NZ Merino wool product. It comes in different weights and is great for layering. It doesn’t seem to pill, it washes well and drys easily. It doesn’t get stinky! I can dress it up or down. I love it!
Football games or jumping in leaf piles?
100% leaf piles. I loved playing in leaf piles as a kid and with my dogs in NZ. A walk in the park kicking up leaves on crisp autumn day is sublime!
What song really gets you into the fall spirit?
Rachelle Ferrell’s When autumn leaves begin to fall. I first came across Rachelle when I first came to Japan in the 80’s and I love her first album.
Fall mornings or evenings?
Morning for a walk. I love the sunlight streaming through the leaves but in Japan they have a great way of lighting up the parks and gardens in the evening and it is stunning. I always try and visit one or two gardens known for autumn foliage in the evening.
What is autumn like in Japan?
Autumn is a fabulous season to visit Japan. It heralds a break from the hot oppressive summer humidity and the end of the typhoons. The days are crisp and often clear. It is all about the autumn colours and autumn cuisine.
Japanese gardens are planted brilliantly from a seasonal point of view. The Japanese maples make a great autumn planting feature. from a more natural viewpoint Japanese mountain sides are awash in hues of red, orange and yellow. Japanese people love to take day trips or overnighters to scenic hot spots.
They stay in traditional accommodation, bathe in outdoor mountain hot springs while admiring the nature’s palette around them and eat the most glorious autumn foods. After a long hot summer, people’s appetites return with vengeance. People get very excited about seasonal specialties like sweet potatoes,mushrooms, oysters and oil rich fish. Nabe or hotpots are a delicious sign autumn has arrived.
Japan Autumn Memories
The photos above are from a day visit to a garden and a road trip down south with a good friend. My two other Japan specific experiences and memories are our school festival and major high school autumn rugby tournament.
My students decorate their school and put on plays and events for the festival. The school is open to family and friends. It is a lively exciting time for the students. In fact it is happening this very weekend. The brass band and dance club do great performances, classes run games rooms and there is a casino this year!. One group has even built a jet coaster in their classroom! There are Karate, kendo and traditional archery demonstrations. Rock bands and plays are in action.The principal is involved and can be found whipping up Japanese noodles. It’s noisy, fun and very inclusive. The kids will be buzzing for weeks after.
The “aki taikai” or Autumn Tournament is a big rugby event for my school. Our team is usually in the top four in Tokyo and the top two get to go to the hallowed national tournament called Hanazono. It is a time for tears, either tears of jubilation or tears of despair. It is the last game for our third year students or their ticket to playing in the ultimate high school tournament and finishing their high school career on a great high. Sporting scholarship offers to prestigious universities hang in the balance. The tournament starts next week so the boys are in serious training mode at the moment. The whole school goes to the finals to cheer the team on. wish us luck for 2015!
Thanks again to Jolineys of Keeping Track and who is a fellow language learner. I am looking forward to all autumn has to offer!
Yoroshiku Onegai shimasu