秋  。。。autumn (Updated for 2011)

秋は僕の一番好きな季節です。。。

Note:  In 2011 I updated this post with a few photos I took Kyoto in November 2009; taken a little over a month after I first posted this piece.  After you (hopefully) enjoy this photo essay, I hope you’ll click over to my 2012 Autumn album.


The Takase Canal. Kiyamachi, Kyoto. November ’09.

.          .         .

Autumn’s my favorite season.  I suppose it comes from being a native of Virginia, growing up just outside of Washington, D.C., where during my childhood autumn seemed to last forever.  Cousins lived — and now raise their own families — in the Shenandoah Valley.  My grandparents on my mother’s side lived in West Virginia when I was very young, and then moved over to Shenandoah, Virginia.  The glorious leaves, the cool crisp days and chilly nights, football season, Halloween, Thanksgiving, apples and apple cider and a slow, sweet transition into the Christmas Season.  As a teenager and then as a college student I found autumn the most romantic time of the dating year and most of my fondest memories of that aspect of my life were played-out against the backdrop of autumn.

Kurama.  Just north of Kyoto.  October 2003.

Kurama. Just north of Kyoto. October 2003.

The first time I went to live in Japan, near Hirakata-shi and within about a half-hour of Kyoto, or Osaka, depending on which direction one takes the Keihan Line, was in August.  So I was able to experience the transition from summer into autumn in Japan.  Through two living experiences in Japan and a couple of dozen of 1- to 3-weeks trips there over the past 10 years, I count autumn as my favorite time in Japan, too.

Kyoto. 2003.

Autumn in Japan:   its heavy, oppressive, debilitating humidity takes a holiday, the Japanese maples (もみじ) transform into millions of delicate blazes of red and gold, lengthening shadows and deepening shades of red and orange, charcoal-sweet smell of roasted yams (still in the skin, of course) wafting about in both city and countryside.  “Sweater Weather.”  The sycamores that line Ni-jo Street in Kyoto, east of the Kamo River.  Comforting memories of dear people who’ve wafted like sweet smoke in and out of my life — or was I the shade that merged into and out of theirs’? — all make autumn in Japan particularly special for me.

I remember one cool autumn night in Kyoto, around 2003 when I and my traveling companion had just flown across the Pacific, gone through the Rites of Immigration, Customs and Baggage Claim at Kansai International Airport, taken the “Haruka” train from the airport to Kyoto Station, been picked up at the station by my Sensei, my Japanese language teacher from college, and taken to his and his wife’s home in North Kyoto.  We ate some, drank a little beer and sake and then turned in after a long, long, long day.  The last thing I remember hearing as I drifted off was the sound of a man singing, almost chanting, just outside the window, pushing his cart of roasted sweet potatoes through the narrow Kyoto streets, plodding on by with his voice rising and falling   —   “R o a s ted yaaaa…ms!  R o a s ted  yaaaa…ms”  (“yaaahhhhkeee   eeemohhhh,  yaaahhhkeee  eeemohhhh…“).  He sounded elderly.  Was he?   I think it was the most beautiful song I had ever heard.

.               .               .

G a l l e r y

Kiyomizu Dera.  November 2003.

.

015

Canal from Lake Biwa. Kyoto. November 2009.

.

Harvesting Rice. Near my house. Hirakata. Autumn 1984.

.

Leaves in Stone Basin. Shoren-in. November 2009.

.

At Shinnyo-do Temple. Kyoto. November 2009.

.

Persimmons (柿). Kyoto, Okazaki, Market. November 2009.

.

Ladder. Kurama. November 2003.

.

Katano-san. Near my house. Autumn 1984.

.

Friend at Eikan-do (永観堂) “Light Up.” Kyoto. November 2009.

.

Along the road, near Chion-in. November 2009.

.

Overcast day in Pontocho. Kyoto. November 2009.

.

Wall at Shinnyodo Temple. Kyoto. November 2009.

.

Kurodani-dera. Kyoto. November 2009.

More on Kurodani-dera here.

.

About these ads
  1. Richard,

    Those are beautiful images. I look forward to the day I get to experience Japan for myself.

    Steven

      • letsjapan
      • September 26th, 2009

      Thank you, Steven.

      You strike me as someone who also “gets” the Autumn Thing and I’m sure your experiences and life in China during the fall are just as indelibly etched on and in your memory as mine are in and with Japan.

      R

    • Lois
    • September 28th, 2009

    Ahh, Rick-san, those are lovely pics. Prettier than the real thing, if that could actually be.

    Thank you.

    • letsjapan
    • September 28th, 2009

    You remember Autumn in Japan, Lo. You have glorious ones where you now live, of course. But you remember Autumn in Japan. It’s special desu neh…

    • writechic
    • October 10th, 2009

    Gorgeous.

      • letsjapan
      • October 10th, 2009

      Thank you. Really.

      These are, of course, just snapshots. I hope you get to the Rain gallery. I’m particularly fond of “Shapes & Shadows”, too.

      R

    • Ronnie
    • September 25th, 2010

    Very nice. Autumn really is a great time of year.

    • letsjapan
    • September 25th, 2010

    Thanks, Ronnie. I was thinking about you this a.m. as I signed up for Fine Art America. It will be several days, a week or two(?), before I get the hang of what all is available and how to use it properly. Feel free to email me with any tips or advice!

    All the best, and thanks always,

    Rick

  2. Swooning!

      • letsjapan
      • September 13th, 2011

      Yep, Autumn’s good.

      All the best -

      R.

  3. Some fantastic pictures! Autumn is one of my favourite seasons in Japan. I love the beautiful fall colours which can be seen in the mountains.

      • letsjapan
      • September 21st, 2011

      Thanks so much for visiting, from Australia. You’re アストレリアに住んでいる日本人? I hope this got you all 懐かしい!

      Cheers,

      R.

  1. June 15th, 2010

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 115 other followers

%d bloggers like this: