なるほどと アンネのバラに 偲ぶ秋  Ah, indeed, When seeing Anne Frank’s rose, I think of autumn.

In a corner of the park, there is a rose garden with a particularly eye-catching rose. Its name is “Anne’s Rose”. It is a new variety of rose created by Belgian horticulturist Wilfried Delforge in memory of Anne Frank, who is known for her “Diary of a Young Girl”. He named the rose “Anne’s Memory” and presented it to Anne’s father, Otto Frank.
In 1971, Otto Frank met a Christian choir in Kyoto during a trip to Israel. As a token of their friendship, Otto Frank presented 10 rose plants to the choir at Christmas in 1972. However, due to poor transportation conditions, 9 of the 10 plants died, and only one plant miraculously bloomed in the garden of the founder of the Christian choir, who was a member of the choir. This is the origin of “Anne’s Rose” in Japan.
 “Anne’s Rose” quickly gained the attention of many rose enthusiasts due to its beauty, and it spread throughout the country in an instant. “Anne’s Rose” has the characteristic of changing color from red in the bud to golden yellow, salmon pink, and then red when it blooms. This may be seen as a representation of Anne Frank, who had many possibilities ahead of her if she had survived.


ハロウィンも 孫につられて その気分  Halloween, too,  Drawn in by my grandchild’s exitement,  I’m in the same mood.

Tomorrow is Halloween, and as a result, even when walking through the town, you occasionally come across young people and children in Halloween costumes. I first learned about the Halloween tradition about 30 years ago when a Japanese exchange student named Hattori, in an attempt to get some candy, was mistakenly shot and killed in front of a house. Even back then, Halloween was not a well-known event in Japan.
Now, when this time of year comes around, it’s featured daily on television. Last year, there were numerous deaths in South Korea, and so, this year, it seems that the security measures, especially around the Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo’s Shinjuku, are quite stringent.
Halloween is a Christian festival, and the irreligious nature of the Japanese people who become so engrossed in it is often pointed out, but I don’t think it’s something to make a big deal out of. I think it’s okay to just say that Japanese people love festivals. This is because Japanese people have a unique religious outlook that Westerners do not have, and based on this, they have the tolerance to accept any religion in the world. In this way, Japanese culture and customs have been nurtured since ancient times while being strongly influenced by foreign countries, while valuing unique, indigenous things.


キラキラと 光か音か 銀杏もみじ Glistening bright,  Is it light or sound?  Gingko turned leaves

When autumn comes, Japan is home to dozens of tree species that turn red or yellow. Among them, the iconic representatives of autumn foliage are the Japanese maple, the Japanese red maple, and the ginkgo tree. While the term ‘紅葉’ (kouyou) signifies red leaves, the ginkgo’s golden hue is truly exceptional. Although it’s called ‘yellow,’ depending on the sunlight and wind, it can even become a golden shade. When ginkgo trees adorned in gold sway in the breeze, one might say the word ‘キラキラ’ (glittering) transforms from an onomatopoeia to a mimetic word.
The fact that countries where you can see autumn leaves are rare worldwide is not widely known. They are mainly found in coastal areas of East Asia, some parts of the Americas, and Europe. Furthermore, in countries other than Japan, you can usually only see one color – either ‘red’ or ‘yellow’ – in one place during autumn, whereas in Japan, you can witness the three colors of red and yellow from the autumn foliage and green from the evergreen trees all in one place. What’s more, the colors of autumn leaves in Japan are notably stunning. Additionally, you can enjoy autumn leaves in various variations and situations, not only in valleys and mountains but also within the precincts of temples and shrines adorned with colorful trees, by the lakeside surrounded by trees in various hues, or while soaking in open-air hot springs with a view of the autumn foliage. This unique variety of settings is something only Japan can offer. It’s no wonder that many foreigners who previously had no interest in autumn leaves transform into enthusiasts when they experience the beauty of Japanese autumn foliage.


弾けると 赤いキャビアか ザクロの実 Pomegranate seeds,  When they burst pop, pop, pop,   Is it red caviar?

When I was a child, I heard that pomegranates tasted like human flesh, so I found them rather unsettling to look at. Later, I learned it was just a superstition, but it left a strong impression on me when I was a child, and it was only recently that I ate pomegranate for the first time. Kishimojin is enshrined at the shrine I visited during my child’s Shichi-Go-San festival, and she holds a pomegranate in her hand. The reason for this is based on an anecdote in which the Buddha admonished Kishimojin, who was kidnapping and eating human children, saying, “Pomegranates taste similar to human flesh, so if you feel like eating human flesh, eat that.”  The connection between pomegranates and humans goes back to ancient times, even as far back as ancient times, possibly arriving in Japan via the Korean Peninsula by the 9th century. Pomegranates are rich in nutrients and are said to have health and beauty benefits, especially for women, and have even become popular as “women’s fruits.”


吊るし柿 甘くなる頃 もう師走 Hanging persimmons, By the time they sweeten, December is here.

I turned harvested astringent persimmons into dried persimmons. It’s ideal to start hanging them around the time when the outside temperature drops below 10 degrees, but in a year like this one, where the heat persists, it’s challenging to find the right timing. I need to consider measures against mold and birds, and while dealing with birds is manageable, it’s difficult to address mold issues during such hot weather. When the daytime temperature exceeds 10 degrees, mold becomes more likely to develop, so I have to spray them with alcohol or something similar. I found various remedies online, but it seems like we didn’t used to worry about this so much in the past. This is yet another example of the impact of global warming close to home. In any case, in just one more month, we’ll be able to enjoy sweet dried persimmons. It’s something to look forward to, but by then, December will be here. Time flies; it’s already the end of another year.


荷車に 花を飾って 米俵 Decorating the cart, With flowers on the rice bags, Harvest’s vibrant art.

Autumn is the season of harvest, and among them, rice is the most essential harvest for the Japanese. The cultivation of rice, estimated to have begun around 10,000 years ago in the Yangtze River region of China, was transmitted to Japan through the Chinese mainland or the Korean Peninsula, but the exact timing of this transmission remains unclear. Rice cultivation mainly involves field cultivation and paddy cultivation, but the commonly practiced paddy rice cultivation in present-day Japan is believed to have been first introduced in northern Kyushu around 3,000 years ago (10th century BC). Paddy rice cultivation spread to the Kinki region approximately 300 years later (7th century BC) and reached the northern tip of Honshu about 600 years after that (4th century BC). Since then, it has been an integral part of the lives of the Japanese, continuing to this day.
The couple, having completed the rice harvest, loads rice bags onto a large cart and carries a basket of flowers they cultivated by the side of the field on their way back home. Across the river, you can see modern houses, but it’s unclear if they are aware of such a scene or not as they leisurely take a break.


咲かぬなら 咲くまで待とう ホトトギス If it doesn’t bloom,  Let’s wait until it does –  A hototogisu’s flower.

Oh? Some of you might be wondering. That’s right, the bird called “hototogisu” is famous for the three haiku by Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Ieyasu that start with “Nakanunara, ~ (If you don’t sing, ~)”. I never knew there was a flower with the same name. When I visited a nearby art museum, I noticed an interesting flower blooming by the garden pond, so I approached it and saw a name tag that said “Hototogisu.” Upon investigation, I learned that the name “Hototogisu” was given to the flower because its spots resemble the feather patterns of the Hototogisu bird. Hototogisu is a cold-resistant perennial plant in the lily family that is native to Japan, Taiwan, the Korean Peninsula, and more. It has been cherished by people for a long time and has also been used as a tea flower in autumn.
By the way, the English name for Hototogisu is “Toad Lily,” and it seems that to Westerners, the beautiful spots look sadly like the patterns of a toad.
As a side note, the haiku that mentioned Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Ieyasu’s Hototogisu is famous for capturing the personalities of these three Sengoku warlords. But Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of Matsushita Electric (now Panasonic), wrote a haiku that goes, ‘If it doesn’t sing, that’s fine too, the Hototogisu.’ It’s a verse that reflects Mr. Konosuke’s unique and seasoned character.

ちなみにホトトギスの英名はToad Lilyだそうで、欧米人には美しい斑点は悲しいかなヒキガエルの模様に見えるらしいです。
余談になりますが、先ほどの信長、秀吉、家康のホトトギスを詠んだ句は、戦国武将三人の人柄をよく表している事で有名ですが、松下電器(現:パナソニック)の創業者である松下幸之助氏は「鳴かぬなら それもまた良し ホトトギス」と詠んだそうです。幸之助さんらしくて味わいのある句です。

切り株の ハロウィンお化けが 勢揃い At the tree stump, Halloween ghosts gather, As if Pumpkins.

In the Kuhoji Green Park in Yao City, Osaka, Halloween ghosts made from tree stumps always line up around this time. Halloween is an annual Christian festival held on October 31st, with its origins dating back to the ancient Celtic people. In ancient Celtic culture, November 1st marked the new year, and a grand festival celebrating the gathering of autumn harvests was held on the preceding night of October 31st. Later, as the Celtic people converted to Christianity, the customs of the celebration persisted, and the evening before the Church’s designated “All Hallows’ Day” on November 1st was shortened to become known as Halloween. Halloween was believed to be a time when not only ancestral spirits but also demons, witches, and wandering souls would come from the afterlife. As a result, people disguised themselves to look like these entities, believing that this would help protect them. This is why dressing up as witches, evil spirits, or monsters has become a classic style even in modern times.
In Japan, Halloween is primarily associated with the enjoyment of dressing up. Along with the classic costumes of witches, demons, and monsters, people often have fun by cosplaying as anime, manga, movie characters, or celebrities.

大阪八尾市にある久宝寺緑地公園には、いつも今頃になると、切り株で作ったハロウィンのお化けが並んでいます。ハロウィンは、毎年10月31日に行われるキリスト教のお祭りで、その起源は、紀元前のケルト民族にまでさかのぼります。古代ケルトでは11月1日が新年で、前夜の10月31日から秋の収穫物を集めた盛大なお祭りが開かれました。その後、ケルト民族はキリスト教化していきますが、祝祭の習慣は残って、キリスト教会が定めた11月1日の「諸聖人の日(All Hallows’ Day)」の前夜(All Hallows’ Evening)が短縮されてハロウィンと呼ばれるようになったと考えられています。ハロウィンには、先祖の霊だけでなく、悪魔や魔女、さまよえる魂なども死後の世界からやってくると考えられていました。 そのため、人々はそれらと同じ格好に扮装して仲間だと思わせることで身を守ったのです。 そのため、魔女や悪霊の仮装やメイクは現代でも定番のスタイルとなりました。

野に立てば 秋の景色は 万華鏡 Standing in the field, The autumn scenery is a kaleidoscope.

Standing in the field, I look around and see a riot of colorful flowers. There are no flowers that dominate the scene like the cherry blossoms of spring. Instead, the flowers come together to create a landscape of autumn. Soft clouds float in the clear blue sky, and they are reflected in the water of the pond below, sparkling in the ripples. As I stand in my designated spot and take a full turn, I become entranced as if I were gazing into a kaleidoscope. It is a quiet, solitary world. I wonder if I will wither away like the flowers that will eventually die, or if I will have a life that will return like these flowers after the winter. Such musings blend with the earlier kaleidoscope, circling in my mind.


朝一番 銀杏の実は 落ちたまま  First thing in the morning, The ginkgo nuts remain fallen,  Soon they’re gone.

When I go to the park early in the morning, I find many ginkgo nuts have fallen due to last night’s wind. People can be seen here and there picking them up, but there are still untouched areas. A little later, a crowd of people arrives, and in no time, the fallen ginkgo nuts disappear. By that time, some people come with long bamboo poles and fishing gear to knock down the remaining ginkgo nuts. The jade-like color of the nuts when you crack open their shells is truly reminiscent of ancient fossils. Ginkgo trees are survivors from over 100 million years ago, thriving in the era when a diverse range of large dinosaurs like Brachiosaurus, Stegosaurus, and Apatosaurus evolved and flourished. They are believed to have escaped extinction during the Ice Age when most other plants and animals perished due to their relatively warm habitat in the China region, where they are originally from. Ginkgo nuts are roasted and eaten or used in dishes like chawanmushi, despite their slightly bitter and chewy texture, which has its own unique appeal. However, it’s advised to limit ginkgo nut consumption to 1-2 nuts a day for children and to avoid giving them to those under 5 years of age. For adults, it’s recommended to consume about 6-7 nuts a day as a guideline, emphasizing the importance of not overindulging.

朝早く公園に行くと、昨夜の風で沢山の銀杏が落ちていました。あちらこちらで銀杏拾いをしている人がいますが、まだ手付かずの所もあります。もう少しすると大勢の人達がやって来て、瞬く間に落ちた銀杏は無くなります。その頃になると長い竹竿や釣具を持って銀杏を落としに来る人もいます。殻を割った時の翡翠色をした実はまさしく行きた化石を彷彿とさせるものがあります。銀杏は、ブラキオサウルス、サイスモサウルス、アパトサウルスなど多様な種類の大型恐竜が進化し繁栄した時代に最も繁栄した植物で、1億年以上も前から生き続けている植物です。ほとんどの動植物が絶滅した氷河期に、比較的に暖かかった中国地方で絶滅を免れたと考えられており原産は中国と言われます。炒って食べたり、茶碗蒸しに入れて食べたりしますが、ほろ苦くてもっちりした食感がなんとも言えません。ただ、小児は、1日に1~2個に抑え、5歳未満には控えるようにと言われています。 大人でも1日6~7個程度を目安に、“食べ過ぎない”ことが重要です。