My Affair with Autumn in Japan

I apologize for the large gap between my last post and this current work of literature that you are preparing to read. I don’t have much in the way of excuses other than the fact that I… Well, I fell in love. I am pretty infatuated right now, but not with a particular person. Rather, I have fallen hard for a place, a time.

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I am obsessed with autumn and it is becoming an issue. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?? While I can’t really relate to the “fall is pumpkin spiced lattes, and pumpkin patching, and fuzzy sweaters all wrapped up into one and drenched in hot spiced apple cider” mindset, I have enough clarity to admit that I am attached to autumn in a semi-unhealthy way.

Doshi Village or the Shire?
Doshi Village or the Shire?

Growing up in Florida I never dealt with seasonal changes so my experience of “fall” was largely simulated by material trappings. The fuzzy patterned sweaters in deep reds and burnt yellows felt festive, but as the dense Floridian sun shone full-force midday, the slow drip of sweat down my back was hard to ignore. The sweetening of the Starbucks pumpkin-double-spice-cinnamon-harvest-moon latte stuck to the backs of my teeth with a false artificiality. The pumpkin patches looked more like battlefields, all droopy orange blobs and murky shades of earth, trampled under the feet of a hoard of tiny children. I tried and tried and tried to feel the shifting of the seasons, but the palm trees mocked me in all of their perpetually green glory. My relationship with autumn had always been fraught with the tension of an unrequited crush.

One day in October, after a particularly gloomy work week in my tiny Japanese village, the perpetual mist and darkness that had been hovering in the sky for days on end suddenly cleared. All around me were the most spectacular hues of orange and yellow and red. My entire village was suddenly the epitome of the fall that I had always chased to no avail during my time in Florida.

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I spent the next month traipsing about my prefecture, embodying the role of a “weekend warrior,” hiking about the countryside every single clear day I had the chance. I saw waterfalls, gorges, mountains, and even a forest renowned for its connection to death – all in the beautiful wrappings of autumn.

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Mount Fuji finally put some clothes (snow) on!
Mount Fuji finally put some clothes (snow) on!
Shosenkyo gorge
Shosenkyo gorge

I have been feeling so great too – strong, healthy, and capable. I give a massive amount of credit to my surroundings. Even the view from my desk at the elementary school I work at offers an ideally scenic vantage point.

Recess never looked so gorgeous
Recess never looked so gorgeous

A bit over a month into our relationship and it is almost over between fall and I. The air is getting nippier… Yesterday I was doing yoga in my living room and was intrigued to see my own breath during a particularly relaxing exhale. My. Own. Breath. Inside my apartment. I am doing my best to move on, prepare myself, my apartment, and my wardrobe for the frigid impending winter. The leaves are rapidly falling and every heap of dead, brown foliage I see on the ground sends a shock of dread from my fingertips to my toes.

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I am finding it really hard to let go. It isn’t even thanksgiving yet… How can I be nostalgic for a season that has not even ended yet? One day I was driving around my village, trying not to get distracted by the gorgeous nature coming at me from 360 degrees, and I thought to myself, “This can’t be it for us. I don’t want this to be the last of things between fall in Japan and I.” Just like that, my dogged determination to apply to graduate school and return to the states next year fell away. My resolve to only stay for a one year long contract is slowly shifting into a hope that I am able to stay for two years. I am bidding fall in Yamanashi, Japan farewell but it is no longer painful because I am merely awaiting its return.

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I miss you already, fall.
I miss you already, fall.
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6 thoughts on “My Affair with Autumn in Japan

  1. Hi Taylor,

    It is a joy to read your blog postings. You have wonderful way of expressing yourself and your experiences. I completely understand your love of the mountains and fall colors. You would love Ithaca and Triphammer Falls or Letchworth state park. So much beauty to explore in upstate New York.:). Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving!! I hope you are not too lonely this holiday season. Thoughts and prayers to you always!!
    Love Karen and the Poland clan 🙂

  2. Leaves the color of blood, white capped mountains in the distant horizon, streams like crystal snakes meandering through rainbow forests, all very nice but where is Godzilla? I want a picture of Godzilla or don’t come home!

    Nice work, nice writing – As I stare into my radiation emitting computer screen it is nice to know that some who possess the power of youth have decided to wield it. Enjoy the ride for as long as you can – and send Frodo our best wishes.

    We are all enjoying the blog! Be safe!

    Cousin Philip of the Northern Branch of your extended clan.

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