I think of Autumn as being the season when leaves actually start falling, I guess. The road I grew up on had loads of big old horse chestnut trees and as a kid we used to kick through the leaves to find fallen conkers to see if we could find one that might become a sixer. I always used to hate the autumn because it meant the start of school, the days getting shorter, everything getting colder and the weather being rubbish.
These days, though, I think Autumn might be my favourite season. This is definitely because summer in Japan is so hellish 😂 It used to be – when I still lived in England – that I preferred the spring and summer infinitely more! Finally coming out of the dark winter, searching the hedgerows for snowdrops peeking through before the first of the spring flowers bloomed, having one plant after another to look forward to as the earth warmed up again, the fields full of the new season’s lambs, and everything wonderful. In Japan, Spring is a bit… meh. Like don’t get me wrong! The deep pink and white ume blossoms are so elegant and the sakura a candyfloss explosion, and they’re perfectly magical! But after that there’s nothing really special until the rainy season hydrangeas, and after that it’s all just a case of gritting your teeth and bearing it until the end of the summer. I miss the English spring, with splashes of bright and pale yellow here and there as first daffodils and then primroses come into flower, followed by oceans of bluebells under woodland trees before the roses and summer flowers come into bloom.
But Autumn in Japan! The delicate-looking spider lilies and soft zebra grass, the sudden drop in humidity, the clearer air and the freshness in the mornings! And the food, autumn food is so good. We’ve already had hotpot twice. My husband just said this evening, “We haven’t eaten saury, so it doesn’t feel like Autumn yet…” – seasonal foods are such a big deal here and they aren’t in the same way in the UK at all. (The Pacific saury catch was incredibly low this year and the prices are high.) And then you have the autumn leaves.
A couple of years ago we had a short drive down to Hakone to look at some of the glorious autumn foliage, except we took the dog with us and he gets horribly carsick so it wasn’t fun for him at all 😅 Last year I was still in my first trimester so was not doing very well (🤢) but hopefully this year we can properly enjoy the stunning autumn leaves when they eventually turn. Moving to Japan and gradually drifting more towards Shinto has made me really come to love the winding down of the year (I genuinely love the end-of-year cleaning, New Year itself, and all of the New Year traditions). Such a wonderful time to relax!
In a perfect world, I’d spend spring and summer in the UK and then move back here mid-October for the autumn and winter. How about you? What’s your favourite season? I know it’s not uncommon for certain types to overwinter in warmer climates; what would be your ideal?