A is for 秋

A is for Aki, or the Japanese word for Autumn. Before coming to Japan, I’d never considered autumn to be a particularly colorful season. Growing up in Louisiana, the season had meant brown pine needles and sticky cones; icicles dripping off the eaves of my family’s porch. Giant piles of leaves, raked up and piled for bonfires in the evening. In California, the only hint of the season’s change are the golden hills of sun-dried grass and the sudden, inexplicable disappearance of the oak trees’ leaves.

Japan’s autumn is a bonfire––both literally and figuratively––with summer fire festivals preceding the explosion of the warm side of the color wheel. It is my favorite time of year, with cool, crisp air and the lingering heat of summer. The whole world changes before your eyes. Sometimes, autumn in Kyoto can be over in as little as two weeks, and I’m always a little sad when that happens.

It is probably going to be one of the things I miss the most about Japan when we move.

https://flic.kr/p/oT3hab

https://flic.kr/p/pw6eXy

Kinkaku-ji & Ryoan-ji

https://flic.kr/p/oAAbZK

93 thoughts on “A is for 秋

    • Alex Hurst says:

      Yes, I’m looking forward to those sounds when I move to Vancouver! Though i’ve heard the Canada geese are sometimes seen as more of a nuisance than a beautiful bird, I love them!

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  1. Nagzilla says:

    I understand not getting autumn if you live in a southern climate. I had no idea that not everyone had autumn until we lived in Texas for a couple years. No colors, just turn brown and die. Vivid color changes are the best! Glad you have a chance to experience them!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Alex Hurst says:

        Where I lived in Louisiana, it was just pine trees…. pine trees, and magnolia trees, everywhere. It made fall very stark and brownotonous, and also meant sweeping the deck and raking the leaves every day! Haha. We did get cardinals, though. I miss those birds. So colorful. 🙂

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    • Alex Hurst says:

      I’m glad I’ve had the experience, too! Though I do miss the icicles… we don’t get them here, very much. Probably because pipe systems have been upgraded a bit since I was a kid, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Alex Hurst says:

      I’m glad to hear they’ll still be around for me in Canada! I love autumn. The colors, the risp air. It’s a great season, and very comfortable. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Alex Hurst says:

      Yes, it’s definitely a beautiful decay. I bet the farmlands offer their own charm in the fall. I imagine it looks similar to late summers in California. Gold, sun-bleached grasses everywhere. 🙂

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    • Alex Hurst says:

      Yes, its one of my favorite pictures, haha. Where is the button?! (The monkeys are actually prone to attacking people if they feel threatened, so the sign is no joke. 😛 )

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    • Alex Hurst says:

      Thanks so much, Sarah! It’s okay. We really only know what seasons we’re exposed to. For instance, Californians don’t generally understand that what they call winter, or summer, is not what a majority of the rest of the states feel for that season. Hahah.

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    • Alex Hurst says:

      Yes, when I lived in Northern California I got spoiled by the weather. I almost forgot that the sharp divisions between seasons could exist, though.

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  2. LindaGHill says:

    Beautiful! My first trip to Japan was in October of 2005 – I was so pleased to see the leaves change. I love the autumn here in Ontario too – hopefully it will be just as wonderful for you in B.C. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alex Hurst says:

      That’s what I’m hoping, too, Linda! It has been absolutely lovely. I get one more season of it before we leave. I’m going to soak it up!

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    • Alex Hurst says:

      Hahah, I’m not quite at that point just yet! The cherry blossoms just exploded over here, so we’re enjoying that right now. 🙂

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    • Alex Hurst says:

      Yeah, I only have one more season of this (don’t know what to expect in Vancouver), so I’m going to live it up and sit outside every day!

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  3. sarahthemythopoet says:

    Beautiful! I live in upstate NY and we get some pretty nice autumns too. I would love to Autumn in Japan though and all the other seasons too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alex Hurst says:

      Oh! I’ve heard amazing things about NY autumn! How awesome. 🙂 If you get the chance to come, I definitely recommend it. Late November is the perfect time to come to Kyoto.

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    • Alex Hurst says:

      Yeah… it can sort of make winter feel suuuuper long, with the only difference between the two being whether there are any leaves on the trees or not.

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    • Alex Hurst says:

      I think it’s great that they last so long. The leaves are also much bigger, as far as my memory goes. Japanese maples are very delicate and small, nothing like their N.A. cousins!

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  4. Sue Archer says:

    Hi Alex, I love all that colour. Here the level of colour really depends on the weather that leads up to it. It always feels sad in the years that the leaves are dimmer. Bright oranges and reds are best!

    And I just have to ask…what’s the deal with the monkeys? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Sue says:

    What an admirable and exciting time in your life to be able to experience living in Japan as an English Instructor. Enriching your writing with the language, the culture and the stunning photos you have shared in this post is priceless. A lovely beginning for the challenge. Well done, Alex.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal
    AtoZ 2015 Challenge
    Minion for AJ’s wHooligans

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alex Hurst says:

      Thank you very much, Sue! Sorry I’m only getting back to you now… was out of town for another adventure!

      I love what you’re doing with your challenge, too. The post on palomino horses was awesome!

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  6. A J says:

    I especially like that last picture. If I were there, I’d probably push that button and wait for the staff 🙂 Unfortunately, I’ve not had the opportunity to be in Japan during the autumn season but I’m sure it is as you described, a riot of colours. And knowing the Japanese, this riot of colours are celebrated with a myriad of festivals. They do love their change of season 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Rebecca Douglass says:

    WOW! That’s amazing fall color! I’ve lived all my life in the Western US–we don’t get “real” fall color either. Great photos, too.

    Thanks for stopping by my place–now I can follow you and enjoy your pictures!
    Rebecca at The Ninja Librarian

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alex Hurst says:

      I love your blog, so it makes me happy to see you here, too. 🙂 I hope a lot of people will check out your challenge today!

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    • Alex Hurst says:

      Hello Carrie-Anne!!! *waves*

      Yeah, I get a giggle every time I see the monkey sign. They’ve never fixed it in the five years I’ve been here!

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  8. nikewrites says:

    Amazing pictures Alex! I didn’t like autumn when I was younger. It meant summer was over and school was back in session. But now that I’m all grown up, I appreciate the beauty of the season more!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alex Hurst says:

      Thank you very much, Nike! I feel the same. As a kid, autumn meant I couldn’t swim in the river anymore, and I had rake duties for our front driveway. I hated the raking job, since our driveway was made of broken white shells, and the leaves I had to rake up were pine needles (lots and lots and lots of going over the same space over and over!)… but now a days, I can really appreciate it!

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  9. roweeee says:

    How are you ever going to be able to photograph autumn leaves again after photographing the very best? I know that there are parts of the States known for there autumn leaves too but these are incredible. Thanks for the experience xx rowena

    Liked by 1 person

      • roweeee says:

        I haven’t been to Vancouver although my husband stopped over there on his was to…sunny California!! I have some relatives on Vancouver Island who sent me a calendar and there are lots of opportunities there. Seals from memory?

        Liked by 1 person

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