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.