Being born and raised in New England, I learned to love autumn from an early age. Despite the days becoming shorter and the foliage falling from the trees, I always saw it as a time of new beginnings because of the start of the school year.
I have many fond memories of autumn; trick or treating with my parents and older brother as a kid, going to the haunted house at the local amusement park with friends in my teens, packing friends in my beat up 1994 Toyota Tercel and heading to gigs at the local venues during my university days. And during my time in Japan, exploring Japan with my fellow JETs, traveling alone or with Taku, and so on.
Since going back to full-time work during the summer, I’ve found myself extremely busy. Partly because of work and partly of my own accord. I’m the type of person where I have to keep my momentum going or else I might get distracted and end up wasting my time, which happens to be incredibly precious these days. The result is a lot of to do lists and iPhone reminders to keep me motivated and productive during the day. But sometimes, usually when I’m biking past the bare rice fields in the morning, which up until recently were full of long, golden ears of rice, or looking at the city lights from a commuter train, I snap out of my productivity mode and let my autumn thoughts wander.
I managed to find some time last week to see some of the local autumn sights around Fukuoka last week. The first was Fukuoka Tower’s Halloween illumination. I couldn’t really get a good shot with my phone but check out this promotional video to get a better idea of what it was like!
Next I visited Kushida Shrine and Hakata Station on October 22 as part of the Hakata Toumyou Walking event held annually around in Fukuoka. Thousands of lanterns are placed around the city, at shrines, or arranged into giant images! It makes a really beautiful and romantic atmosphere (sadly I had to go alone because Taku was working…). This year it was lightly raining, which made the city even more gorgeous due to the reflections. I didn’t get to see all of the locations, but here’s a small sample of what the experience is like:
Also, in case you all were wondering, Taku is back in Fukuoka, so it’s been great to have him around. Or it would be if our schedules were more in sync and we actually got to spend more time together. But we spent the day together yesterday and watched「君の名は。」 or Your Name, an anime film which has been all the rage recently, ranking at #1 for 9 weeks in a row. I found some of Makoto Shinkai’s works to be beautiful but the stories sort of forgettable. However, this film was quite good in all aspects! I’ve also been a fan of Radwimps (the band who conducted the soundtrack of the film) for about a decade now (finally saw them live in Fukuoka in 2014!), so I think their songs, which are always deep and meaningful, really tied the whole experience together. Watching Your Name actually made me yearn to return to my high school days, as if I needed anymore reasons to be nostalgic.
In Japan, autumn is lauded as a great season to enjoy life’s pleasures and leisures. This is reflected in expressions such as 運動の 秋 (undou no aki), 読書の秋 (dokusho no aki), 食欲の秋 (shokuyoku no aki), which literally translate to “autumn of sports”, “autumn of reading”, autumn of appetite”, respectively. But a better translation 〜の秋 would be “autumn is the best season for~”.
So what do you think autumn is best for? Those of you who are also living in Japan, I’m especially curious to know how you’re spending the season as well! I’m always open to new ideas!