Saturday, 15 November 2008


Today I got an email from the Japanese Government (me and every other student on a government scholarship). In addition to suggesting I "take time out of my busy schedule" to get out and meet Japanese people in the community where I live, the email also talked about "the beautiful seasons of Japan."

The autumn foliage turns whole mountains a beautiful crimson against the clear blue of the autumn sky, or reflects astonishing reds, brilliant yellows and bright oranges on still, mirror-like lakes. As autumn deepens with each passing day, the sun's rays are becoming softer and news of the arrival of the autumn colors is starting to be heard from various parts of Japan.

And I was reminded that I was going to rant about the lack of central heating and how my apartment is freezing cold despite the fact that it is still ten degrees above zero outside. I was going to end my rant with an eloquent and witty look at the Japanese fascination with the concept of Japan's unique blessing of four distinct seasons and the glorious display that is Japan in the autumn. But I've been beaten to it. Auberginefleur has collected all the links and Blue Lotus has said it better than I could. (and now I'm feeling the need to come up with a colour/flower combination nickname for myself...)

So instead I'm going to rant about what kept me awake for half the night last night - the whine of a mosquito in my ear. I'm serious. A mosquito. In November. I've had to pull out my little space heater and most (but not all) of my winter blankets. But I was kept awake because a mosquito was whining in my ear. He was waiting for me when I came home this evening too, and enjoyed flying around my head while I checked my email. He dive bombed me one too many times, however, and will not be bothering me tonight!


  1. Hey there! Stumbled upon your blog through a friend of a friend's blog's link... (go figure!), but as a fellow Canadian in Japan, I have to comment -- completely devoid of ethnocentricity and nationalism -- that Japanese seasons ain't got *nothing* on Canadian seasons. Our summers are almost as hot and either humid or desert-like depending on the place (and no rainy season!), our autumns are crisp and beautiful, and our winters are freezing and icy enough to make spring seem beautifully optimistic (like a 12 degree day being shorts-and-t-shirt weather).

    The big difference is really just, we don't have sakura or momiji-viewing.


  2. Michael,

    My old host family's father's mother (ie the gradmother) lived in Saga - how is that for random connnections?

    I would totally agree with you about Canadian seasons! Although they vary a lot across the country! Vancouver summers are gorgeous and not humid at all, but the rest of the year (and summer too for that matter) can be depressingly rainy. Winters are mild and the city goes crazy if it snows. Go to northern BC, however, and in late winter -5 is t-shirt weather. Toronto gets hot and muggy in the summer, but in Jasper part of my summer job was to shovel snow (it snowed about once a summer).

    As for hanami and momiji, there are some streets in Vancouver that are gorgeous in the spring with cherry blossoms. I don't remember the summers I spent on the east coast, but there is the "White Way of Delight" in Anne of Green Gables... Fall in Ontario/Quebec can be gorgeous, and I know some people who went out for Sunday drives to enjoy the fall colour.

    Sigh... now I've gotten homesick!