Anyone who has studied Japanese for more than a few years will have studied how to write a letter.
While in English we’re free to start off the letter any way we see fit, in Japanese letters often begin with a comment about the weather.
I remember our class asking our teacher why that was the case. Fast forward to today and I know why.
Japan has 4 seasons, and with each season not only comes dramatically different weather but also fashion and fruits among other things.
In winter it’s cold, and although in Osaka it rarely snows, it is cold.
For those of you from cold climates you might say, well, that’s nothing.
But to put it in perspective, I would like to quote a Norwegian exchange-student from my days at Kansai Gaidai.
We were talking about the weather and I mentioned to him that for him the weather must be a walk in the park.
To which he said, “It may be colder in Norway but I’ve never felt colder than I have in Japan.”
He must have noticed the surprise in my face as he continued, “In Norway, I never saw my breath inside my own house.”
On the flipside, winter does bring with it the most amazing strawberries and apples I have ever tasted.
And my son wholeheartedly agrees as he gobbles down a variety of fruits each night.
Just the other day I was given a box of strawberries as a gift and they were, for lack of a better word, perfection.
I didn’t even know strawberries could taste that good.
Spring brings with it nice warm weather and cherry blossoms which mark the changing seasons.
It’s a lovely time, with hanami’s (basically picnics under the cherry blossoms) going on each weekend.
A personal favorite place of mine this season is Hikone castle which is located about an hour from Osaka in Shiga prefecture.
Summer comes next and it is hot. Hot I like.
I only wish there were more outdoor pools to swim in to soak up the rays.
Summer is more a time to head to the mountains to enjoy a reprieve from the heat.
Then comes autumn, which is, personally, my favorite time of year. It’s still warm and with the leaves changing colors Japan it’s a great time to wander around.
It’s a photographers dream with the mountains covered in reds, yellows and greens.
Japan is quite different from any other Asian country with a mix of ultra-modern culture and old traditions mixed in.
Add this blend of culture to the 4 seasons and you have a very diverse country.
So, make sure you bring your winter coat, and some swimwear cuz you’ll need both if you’re going to be here for a while.
Look forward to seeing you soon.