Sunday, 20 November 2011

Autumn in the Suburbs of Osaka

As we get deeper into November the days are getting colder and autumn is now upon us in Osaka, Japan. Much like the arrival of cherry blossom in spring, autumn brings about it’s own celebrations as the leaves on the trees turn a fabulous array of burning bright colours. Of course there are many picturesque locations where you can view amazing autumnal scenes in all their splendour, but for Jules and I it’s just as interesting to watch the activities in and around our local streets and suburbs.

There is a street we walk regularly between our apartment and the train station that seems to be the focus for some annual seasonal excitement. It’s not a particularly special street, but it is wide and is lined with what we think is a kind of Maple tree (judging by the shape of the leaves). At this time of the year the normally quiet road comes alive with cars and even bus loads of people who come especially to see the yellow, orange and red leaves that create a multicoloured canopy for the pedestrians below. It seems that the viewing of leaves (referred to as Koyo) is a very popular pastime in Japan, drawing large crowds to some particularly favoured locations, whether they be in the mountains or even humble suburban streets.

On sunny days visitors can be seen setting up their folding chairs at the side of the road just to admire the outlook and bask in the remaining rays of sunshine. Similarly, painters and photographers come fully equipped with easels and tripods in search of a suitable vantage point that might inspire them to produce a work of art. At the very least passers by can often be seen taking their mobile phones out to get a quick shot to capture that unique moment of colour. Much like cherry blossom season (sakura), the excitement of ‘Koyo’ lasts for only a few short weeks with the leaves eventually giving way to cold winter winds. However, for just a short while we are all at one with nature and continue to admire it’s beauty in the most unlikely of locations. Photos taken at the big name locations will continue to adorn books, calendars and posters all year round, as such images are so quintessentially Japanese.

While our little road will not necessarily feature in any publications, it still provides a great source of pleasure for locals and visitors alike. So for the remaining few weeks we will continue to enjoy our little autumn hot spot and like our visitors, will take the odd photographic keepsake to record the joy of nature in our local suburb.

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