It’s fall. Mornings are crisp, and soon it is time to dig out the heaters and put the fan in their place.
This morning I made some hot chocolate, (from scratch!), and sat down to do some letter writing.
I am also wearing my little «brake time» cozy socks from Daiso.
Darjeeling is with me as always of course, doing her best to lie on top of the letter so I can’t read it.
Yesterday I spent the day reorganizing the kitchen, the stock closet, and the bath. I recently found out that the walls in the bath are magnetic, which opened up a whole new world of organizing possibilities.
We bought the rack in the middle for all the kitchen electronics, as the previous arrangement was not very earthquake secure.
Bought a little wagashi on the way back from the home store yesterday, a black halloween cat, which was delicious.
Today I want to see about getting some different trash bins, as I am over this tower type where any smell goes through all the compartments. I have seen some at muji that you can affix wheels to making them more convenient as well.
Last time I wrote it was spring, with its cherry blossoms and fair weather.
Now it is autumn, beloved autumn (let’s skip summer).
A lot has happened since spring, and some has stayed the same. I got a new job, which accounts for most of the changes in my daily life and wellbeing. Working from home should mean that I have a lot more time as there is no commute, but for some reason it was easier to get in reading on a commute than at home. I am still working on the work/private life balance.
I got my dream table, a table I had in a note in my evernote app years ago titled «future house ideas». I am living in the same apartment but the arrival of the table has brightened it more than I had imagined.
My plant keeps growing and I had to repot her a little while ago:
We have been hiking lately so I have seen some beautiful views;
I did some doodling from May on my new phone, mostly of Darjeeling, and opened up a little Redbubble shop! I found doodling on my commute was very relaxing, but I often missed my stop.
It is almost time to break out the autumn fashion, and as usual I couldn’t help myself getting some new pieces this year either;
It’s still just a little too early, a little too hot, to start wearing it though.
I am still writing letters, and being as obsessed with stationery as always. Been buying autumn stationery and stamps like there is no tomorrow;
I would like to blog more, but not sure how to proceed, what to blog about, how often etc. Maybe the blog will be updated more this fall, or maybe not, I cannot say for certain. I have so many hobbies but so little time.
How is everyone doing so far this year, as we pass into autumnal bliss?
Yesterday was as perfect as a normal working Monday could be.
It was sunny, but with a cool wind bringing in the scent of autumn. I opened all windows and doors as far as I could letting in the fresh air while not letting out the cat. After days of rain, I could finally do the laundry and did no less than four loads thanks to the sun drying things in less than an hour.
For three years I have had the same futon covers, but I finally bought new ones; matching ones. And the joy of washing them and putting them on: I was over the moon. I have noticed that here, instead of having several sets of covers and changing and washing on like a weekly basis (which I would do in Norway), it seems to be enough with one set and then you hang the whole futon out to dry and “wash” in the sunshine.
While the laundry was drying, I was free to clean the apartment and finish most of my to-do list (that has been piling up lately)
I also got started on changing out my warderobe. Thanks to reading “Lessons from Madame Chic”, I am trying to define my style and also get some ‘core pieces’ and maybe even get down to a ’10-piece warderobe’. I make no promises however. I got a lot of new clothes (well, 8 pieces) which I think will be the main, but I also have some thicker knit sweaters and one wool skirt in my existing fall/winter warderobe so I am already exceeding the 10 pieces but I am not too bothered, it’s not the end of the world. I’m also trying to get better at dressing up, wearing the clothes I like more regularly and not just for special occasions. So for example, to go to the bakery this morning, I put on some of my new pieces and did my makeup! At 10 in the morning! (I work evenings). In Norway, if the bakery was as close as it is here, I might’ve just gone over in sweatpants.
Anyways, I digress, I was writing of yesterday.
My warderobe is looking like this at the moment, I’m hoping to get my knit sweaters etc., into the white boxes that are currently full of winter clothes, which means I need to find a different space to store summer clothes. Did I mention I love organizing yet? It should be getting clearer now. Thinking about storage space and how to organize it is what gets me going. And yes, I have thought that maybe I should become a Konmari consultant, but haven’t found any courses here yet.
I took a break after my warderobe shenanigans and had another matcha latte, which I have every day now, I am obsessed. I’ll probably drink it daily for 6 months and then I’ll get hooked on something new, or maybe go back to milk tea (that I made and drank daily from December until June).
Matcha latte? Check
It doesn’t take too much to make me happy. I coud accomplish all this, take my time getting to work, and work didn’t bring me down either.
I got home, took a bath with the Makioka Sisters in hand, and then I could go to bed in new sheets, the first new sheets in 3 years. My sigh is of happiness and you could probably hear it from outside as the temperature was perfect for keeping the windows open all day and all night.
Today is 秋分の日 (shuubun no hi) or the autumnal equinox day, meaning summer is officially over and autumn is starting!
In Japan you often hear 食欲の秋 (shokuyoku no aki) or 読書の秋 (dokusho no aki), which loosely translates to ‘autumn of appetite’ and ‘autumn of reading’ respectively. I haven’t heard it much about any of the other seasons, only autumn. Once when I went to a Japanese class at a community center, the old grandma that was volunteering as the teacher introduced this topic to us, and had us “make our own autumn”, so basically what our image of autumn is, and what would we like to do or focus on during this season.
You can put just about any two-kanji word in front of の秋, 紅葉(kouyou, autumn leaves), 旅行(ryokou, travel), 勉強(benkyou, study), 健康(kenkou, health), 運動(undou, exercise), 睡眠(suimin, sleep), etc. The list is only limited to your own imagination. You also do not have to be bound just by the two-kanji words, some make long and funny ones like “Autumn of it’s getting increasingly difficulty to get out of bed in the mornings”. Just have fun with it!
My top three this season is:
Appetite (I want to eat all the nabe I can fit into my body)
Reading (my tbr list is getting uncontrollable as you will see)
Autumn leaves (they are my favorites)
Today’s title is 読書の秋 so I will be talking about the books I see myself reading this fall.
I am still not even halfway through Murakami’s 一人称単数, and I feel like a bad Murakami fan. But I finished 3 books in Japanese in a short time in the beginning of August and kind of burnt myself out with reading Japanese so the next books I read were all in English and so Murakami got pushed to the side. But I will get to him during this autumn.
Rainbow / にじ is a poetry collection with the poems in both English and Japanese! It’s super thin so I could get through this quickly, but I would prefer to take it slowly and think a bit about each poem.
The short-story collection サキの忘れ物 is as per my post about it still as beautiful as ever and I am enjoying the title story!
As I mentioned in my last post, I love books like フランス人は10着しか服を持たない, it gives me a bit of motivation to change and I am learning a lot about French culture!
I also started The Makioka Sisters. I finished Jane Eyre and on that day I went by the bookstore and got three new books and started two of them. I have no self-restraint. I felt like they wrote too much on the back, but I am determined to enjoy the story anyway.
I started re-reading Hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world a while back on my e-reader, but I’ve been busy with other books so I haven’t taken the e-reader out in a while. I need to get back on that, as at the moment I am lugging around The Makioka Sister, the Lessons from Madame Chic, and the サキの忘れ物, and my bag is heavy and my back is not pleased about the extra weight.
Books I have yet to start but that I want to get to:
The sequel to Lessons from Madame Chic
Tess of the d’Urbervilles
The letters of Jane Austen
I really love reading old letters written between people, it is such an underrated art in this day and age.
What is everyone’s 〇〇の秋, and what are you reading this season?
I hear the cicadas less and less. The continous noise that was summer is starting to quiet down, becoming a distant memory. While it is still too hot for my liking and to be called autumn, we will get there.
I am over the moon excited for autumn. I can wear all my favorite pieces again, and the new pieces I bought. I got a new dress for autumn, a brown flannel one, and then I got a white leather belt to go with it. And to be able to wear my beloved boots; bliss.
Japan seems to have a new flavour at starbucks every month, but I have yet to see the infamous pumpkin spice latte. While I have nothing against sweet potato frappuchinos and chestnut lattes, I’d like to get one with pumpkin spice once in a while too.
I am most excited about seeing the 紅葉 (momiji) ; the autumn foliage. Watching the leaves turn from green to yellow, orange, red. Breathtaking. I’d like to be able to take Darjeeling out for a walk too, to see her play with the leaves. Such a precious image.
I want to light a candle, bake cakes, take a bath with bath salts. Have the whole apartment smell of cinnamon and chai. And read books, mostly classics. Autumn is not the time for light contemporary books (in my personal opinion). The image in my mind is of cold evenings spent wrapped up in a blanket with a cat on your lap, a hot chocolate or milk tea in one hand, and a classic like Pride and Prejudice or Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights in your other hand. Maybe I’ll do the Japanese Little Women this autumn, it fits my requirement of being a classic AND it will give my Japanese some practice.
What things come to mind when you think of autumn?
Last night, the night going into August 1st, I lay awake and listened to the rain. It came on suddenly and furiously, the winds whipping it against the windows, hitting the ground sounding like hail. Looking outside I saw the world enveloped in rain. The humidity was almost suffocating, even the air was turning into water.
Waking up on August 1st I was greeted by the sun and blue skies. Any trace of the previous night’s rain gone. Last night was the rainy season wrapping itself up, presenting us with summer nicely tied in a bow to be opened on the first day of August.
It feels like the cicadas have spring to life overnight as well. An endless chorus of their chirping, blending into the background until you barely notice it, forgetting almost the source of the noise. The sound of summer.
I’ll admit it is bittersweet to say farewell. The rainy season isn’t all bad. I don’t mind a rain shower here and there, preferably at night with accompanying thunder, but constantly feeling wet and clammy gets tiring pretty quickly.
With summer incoming, while it does bring a certain lightness, brighter days, sunshine, and not to mention vacation, it also brings a heat like no other. As a viking I am not equipped to handle temperatures above 25 degrees celsius. Japanese summers bring temperatures well above 30 daily. Me and Japanese summers do not go hand in hand, but unfortunately we can’t skip them. I enjoy some summery things, but I am looking towards autumn to soothe me after what will surely be another sweltering summer.
While the typical image of spring in Japan is that of the ever beautiful cherry blossoms, they only grace us with their presence for an instant. The flowers that greet you daily from every flowerbed winter throughout spring are the violets and pansies.
In front of every house, company, station; flowerbeds full of pansies and violets in every colour, a colourful blanket stretching across the city, prefecture, nation-wide.
My own balcony garden also consisted of these two. (And some orange daisies)
However, as spring was nearing its close, my little garden was devastaded by aphids. Too many to save my little flowers. I had to start over from scratch.
At the same time, the rain season rolled in, and with it hydrangeas took over. Everywhere you look there are pink, blue, and purple hudrangeas softening the blow of the gloomy weather.
The rain also seems to have taken away with it all the pansies and violets that used to cover the city. In their place, marigold and sunflowers are planted, yellow and orange to welcome in the summer and sun.
(There are a bunch of other flowers too but I do not know their names. I should invest in a flower dictionary.)
The season of violets have passed, at the home center where they had been so abundant earlier not a petal was left. The new season’s flowers are in and so my garden too must reflect this change. My marigold has yet to blossom for me, but the radiant yellow suns of the mini sunflowers have begun peeking out.