It’s finally the middle of autumn here in Japan. The leaves are bright orange, yellow, and red and it’s absolutely gorgeous. This is my first real autumn and so many times, I find myself just staring at the trees. I’m from Southern California, where my street is lined with palm trees. The weather is sunny and warm and I only wore peacoats at night. Here, I wear three layers of shirts/knits, plus a scarf, jacket, and mittens on my bike ride to work. Waaaayyy different than what I’m used to, but I love it. I especially love feeling the warm sun against the autumn chill. It’s refreshing and gives me a little reminder of how beautiful and great life is. There are still times when I wake up in the morning and I think to myself, “I’m really living my dream. I’m really in Japan.” Even after four months, I’m still in awe of how I have the opportunities to do the things I dreamed about throughout college.
Over the weekend, I ate lunch with my coworker and she took me on a spontaneous autumn leaf viewing. I was beyond excited, because I hadn’t had the chance to go. Unfortunately, since it was spontaneous, I didn’t have my camera with me, so I took pictures with my tiny phone. We visited Kisara Mine, a mountain nearby where I live, which is surrounded by green tea fields. The green tea fields against the backdrop of the mountains were already gorgeous in itself. As we were walking along the tree lined path, I kept saying “きれい。。。きれい” (kirei – beautiful), as was everyone around us. It truly was kirei. I’m so excited for next year and really hope to make the most out of autumn by visiting different areas for leaf viewing. I feel like I have so many years of leaf viewing to catch up on and now I know why so many people love autumn. It was already my favorite season to begin with, but with this added beauty, I love it even more.
In the past week, I played taiko at a festival where they were making fresh mochi. I was able to experience pounding the mochi (the mallet is so heavy!) and watch as the rice became mochi. After we performed, we were given these four different types: red bean, kinako (soybean flour with sugar), Japanese spinach, and daikon. My favorite is kinako, since I prefer mochi to be sweet and I love the powdery taste. It was my first time trying these different flavors, especially the spinach and daikon ones. I’ve never seen mochi as a savory snack before until we were given these plates. I must admit though, my second favorite was the spinach mochi. Bring on more mochi! (I did get to make mochi at one of my schools a few days later. I was in mochi heaven.)