Celebrate Death in Maioka Park

Japan is famous for its sakura season. It’s that time of year when you know that winter is finally bloody over. Cherry blossoms usually only last two weeks. A Japanese friend of mine says that the sakura are too beautiful to last any longer. Fair enough.

But I think there’s something in Japan that’s far more beautiful than the sakura. The momiji.
                                                      Brilliant. Bright. Red. My favourite colour. 

While the sakura signifies the start of spring, the start of life – the momiji marks the end of autumn: that time when nature dies to take a much-needed break.

Today, I took an example from nature and did exactly that. It’s been 3 months since I took myself out on a date. Has it really been that long? It’s something I always enjoy doing. It’s when I choose where I want to go and do what I want without having to think about anyone else.

My sprit animals. How the two of them wound up here at Maioka Park, I’m not sure.

My students have been banging on about Maioka Park for ages. I’ve been there a couple of times, but never had enough time for the whole trail. I finally did it today. I’m surprised this park isn’t more popular. I guess it’s one of those hidden secrets.

It’s also a little out of the way and there are NO SIGNS in English. So if you can’t read Kanji, you should remember the way back. There are LOADS of winding roads. Don’t bother leaving breadcrumbs. There are all kinds of birds, squirrels and other small animals.

The crowd: housewives with small kids and retired people painting and taking pictures with fancy cameras.

Stuff to see: Japanese agriculture, old houses, beautiful nature, someplace off the tourist trail and the momiji garden. The Japanese tradition of viewing autumn foliage (fall colors for my American friends) is called momijigari.img_3424As much as I hate winter (COLD WEATHER AND I ARE ENEMIES), my favourite season is definitely autumn. It’s when nature dies elegantly. It’s when she takes time out to rest. So she’ll be as beautiful as she can be for the short-lived sakura season.

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