Posts Tagged ‘ Autumn 2011 ’

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.

.

Advertisements
Advertisements