Saturday marks the official start of autumn, which is a holiday in Japan, though it'll be observed two days later as part of the "Happy Monday" holiday initiative by the Japanese government (yes, it's really called that). Autumn is hands-down my favorite time of year here, thanks to the pleasant weather that makes going for a drive up Mt. Haruna so nice. Just as sakura (cherry blossoms) are the symbol of springtime, the beautiful leaves of the momiji (Japanese maple) represent autumn, and the crimson colors are really special to see as they change. Autumn is filled with unique cultural imagery, including viewing the full moon while eating a steaming sweet potato baked over hot stones and sipping sake. I'm not the only one who loves autumn: Japanese advertisers have a ball targeting consumers with advertisements reminding them to buy Kirin's season-limited Aki-Aji beer or consider a visit to Kyoto in its most beautiful season.
It's time for my annual "Damn, I wish I were in Kyoto now" post.