Monday, October 01, 2007


As I have mentioned before in my blog, the Japanese are very proud of their four seasons and have elevated the appreciation of seasonal changes to an art form. There's seasonal food, drink, activities, clothing, holidays. I've come to love the way the culture appreciates nature's cycles, even if it means I can't always get a favorite food all year round.

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By far the loveliest and longest season in Misawa. Among other things, Autumn brings typhoons, dragonflies, the rice harvest, oodles of chrysanthemums, and of course, brilliant fall foliage. Viewing leaves is almost as popular as Cherry Blossom viewing, but not quite. Kirin Breweries also releases a special fall lager that I adore, but I'm writing about Fall, not beer.

While I, as an American, tend to think of Autumn as one long continious season, I recently learned that traditionally, the Japanse break Autumn down into sub-seasons:

Establishment of Autumn
Happens around August 7 or 8th. In true deranged Japanese fashion, these dates are often the hottest of the year, particularly in Misawa. I hate this time of year. It's hot and humid and gross. I have yet to cultivate a love for this season.

The limit of heat

About August 23 or 24. It gets really rainy/typhoony around this time. It's still kinda hot and humid. Bonus! There's suddenly shitloads of bugs, too.Thank God for Aki Beer, which starts showing up on the suupa shelves.

White Dew

I've never seen any dew on September 8 or 9 when this occurs. Maybe because I'm not in the Kanto Plains? It's still pretty warm out.


Autumnal Equinox

Also celebrated as a national holiday. The Japanese have at least two national holidays a month, don't be fooled by reports of sarimen working themselves to death, they're all at the mall on holidays. I think this day also falls in the middle of a Buddhist observation for the dead.

Heavy Dew

October 8 or 9. This is what we are heading into right now, at Misawa. Haven't seen any cold dew, but we had a few chilly nights. The weather right now is amazing, the days are mild and the air is clear. They're harvesting rice now, too.


First Frost

In the Kanto region , the first frost does arrive on October 23 or 24. Surprisingly, even though Misawa is about 8 hours north of Kanto, we don't get a frost until November. Around this time, the distant mountains, observable from my house and work, get snow on their tops. All the skiers/boarders get all excited.

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