On the last day of November, I receive news of the first snow and the first frost from all over the country. Even in Osaka, when you enter the mountains, the fields are frosty. The sasanqua flowers that have begun to bloom also have a white frost border, and look like a lady wearing frills. Sasanqua is so familiar that it is sung as “Sasanqua, Sasanqua, Blooming Road” even in nursery rhymes. Originally from Japan, it was introduced to Europe from Dejima in Nagasaki during the Edo period, and its Japanese name became the scientific name (Camellia sasanqua). It will continue to bloom all winter, and it will be soothing to you from time to time.
Today 29th (Monday) was the coldest of the season. It was the coldest in the season at more than half of the observation points nationwide, and it seems that the first frost and the first snow of the year were observed in various places such as Kyoto and Sendai. The first frost in Sendai was two weeks later than normal, while Okayama was observed more than two weeks earlier, and it seems that the season has advanced at once. Even so, the daytime is still warm and cheerful, and the winter cherry blossoms along the river are in bloom. There are only two days left in November, and the climate has been chaotic in recent years, but the annual event is definitely moving towards the year-end and New Year holidays.
I sang about Kominka(an old folk house), but I’m not sure if it’s Kominka. There is no clear definition of Kominka, but in general, a building built before the war and built in traditional Japanese architecture that does not use nails is called Kominka. Focusing on its retro atmosphere and durability, the regeneration of Kominka has become a kind of boom. No one lives in this Kominka where Pyracantha blooms in the garden. The splendid garden, where the flowers of the four seasons would have bloomed in the past, is overgrown with dead grass, and only the momentum of the pyracantha stands out.
Speaking of Nanten(Nandina), I remember the round red can “Nandina throat lozenge”. In addition, Nanten, which bears beautiful bright red fruits from late autumn to early winter, can be found everywhere and is an indispensable flower material for the New Year as a happy lucky charm. The origin of Nanten is Japan and China, but it has been prized as a lucky tree because the sound of the name leads to “rolling through difficulties”, and it seemed that it had come to be planted in the house. The flowering time of Nanten is from June to July, and white flowers come in bloom. However, in general, Nanten is enjoyed by the red fruits and the change in the color of the leaves during the autumn leaves rather than enjoying the flowers that have bloomed, so the best time to see them is around October when the autumn leaves are beautiful and around November to February when they bear fruit. It is almost always planted in the precincts of shrines and temples.
About 20 minutes by train from Demachiyanagi Station of Kyoto Eizan Electric Railway to Kurama Station, there is a place called “Maple Tunnel” between Ichihara Station and Ninose Station (about 250m). This section is surrounded by about 280 Iroha-momiji(Japanese maples) and O-momiji(Acer amoenum), and in early November, the color of the maples, which had been green first, begins to change little by little, and there is a sign of autumn. In the middle of the autumn, the trees show various colors such as green, yellow, orange, and crimson, creating a vivid landscape with a mixture of leaf colors. Furthermore, the trees continue to be dyed every day toward the end of the month, eventually becoming a crimson “maple tunnel”. In the daytime, the powerful sights approaching both sides of the railroad track continue, and the voices of admiration from the passengers are constant. At night, the illuminated autumn leaves are mixed with the images of the autumn leaves reflected from the car windows as well as behind the car window, and it looks like a kaleidoscope.
The dead grass was frosted and shimmered in the morning sun, but now it has completely disappeared and my silhouette is casting a shadow. The number of people infected with corona has decreased completely, and I was surprised at the large number of people on the holidays the other day, but I am glad that the liveliness is gradually returning. A Christmas tree is already displayed in a nearby department store, and Christmas songs are playing. This busyness is the same as usual, but this year I feel special. I haven’t seen my grandchildren overseas for two years, but I would like to see them as soon as possible.
The beauty of Kinkakuji Temple surrounded by the five colors of autumn leaves is exceptional. It is said that the view seen from the south side of Kyoko Pond in front of Kinkakuji Temple is the most beautiful. That’s right, Kyoko Pond was originally designed so that the Golden Pavilion is reflected on the surface of the lake from any angle. However, when you look at Kinkakuji Temple from the back side, you can clearly see the golden phoenix placed on the top of the roof between the autumn leaves, and it looks like you are flying in the sky. This phoenix is said to be a symbol of the builder, Yoshimitsu Ashikaga, who planned to seize the throne. It seems that the fact that there was actually such a movement remains in historical fact.
Kabura(Turnip) is also called Kabu. Originally it was called Kabura, and what the court wives of the Heian period used to call it a “O-kabu” came to be called Kabu after the “o” was removed. Nowadays, it seems that more people call it Kabu than Kabura. Kabura has long been cultivated because white Kabura was the main and red Kabura was used for celebrations. Yellow Kabura is mainly cultivated in Europe, and it wasn’t until the Meiji era that they came to Japan, and even now they are still unfamiliar in Japan, and can only be found at farm products direct sales offices. Yellow Kabura has been cultivated mainly as feed for livestock in both Europe and Japan, but it has come to be added to recipes in the sense that it adds color.
Kamikochi is a place where the bustle of summer seems like a lie. The peaks of the Hotaka mountains are clearly visible against the clear blue sky. The white spots in Dakesawa are also remnants of the remaining snow. The peaks are lightly covered with the first snow. The dry wind blows mercilessly on Japanese pampas grass. The scenery of Kamikochi is really lonely, and there are a few people.
In the fall, the trees are colored and fascinate people as much as or even more than the beauty of flowers. This is the same regardless in all parts of the world. However, it is said that Japan has the best beauty of autumn leaves. It has a lot to do with Japan’s natural environment, especially the climate and terrain. The environment such as temperature, moisture, and light is closely related to the vivid appearance of autumn leaves. It is necessary that there is a large difference in temperature between day and night, that there is moderate humidity, and that ultraviolet rays are strong. That is why even in Japan, the autumn colors are especially beautiful near mountain streams such as Nikko, Oirase, and Hakone. The mechanism by which the trees turn red is the same in Japan and abroad. However, we would like to pay attention to the importance of its beauty and strive to protect the natural environment in a sustainable manner.