As I mentioned before, school, work, etc has kept me so busy that I haven’t really had a chance to go out much. That left me to just do my best to at least take the time to appreciate the beautiful autumn vibes on campus!
This road is usually pretty packed with students going to and from classes, but this morning my train happened to be quite late that I ended up on campus about fifteen minutes after classes had started. Students were scarce, and I actually stopped, in awe of how beautiful and bright the trees looked. (These iPhone quality photo doesn’t do it justice.)
The garden at our school also had some warm fall leaves that I couldn’t get enough of.
At our school festival, my friend and I went to a kimono-wearing circle and they allowed us to choose any kimono we’d like to wear, kindly helped us put it on, and let us roam around campus with it for free.
It was a really great experience, and luckily there was a circle selling dango so of course, we had to buy some. I got mine with red bean paste (to match my kimono?)!
I think our campus looks the most aesthetically pleasing during this time of year, haha. Almost makes me not mind going to school in the cold weather. Emphasis on almost.
It’s been a while since my last summer traveling posts (and I haven’t even touched on Singapore and Korea.. those shall come later on!), and time has flown by and it’s already the end of fall. Life has been busy that I was afraid I’d miss the chance to capture the beauty of autumn in Japan. Luckily, I found some time in the evening after class to go to Rikugien Park, just a few minutes walk from Komagome Station, which is famous for its lit up trees.
The entrance fee is 300 yen, and you’re free to walk around the park to take all the photos you’d like.
Along the route, there was a truck set up selling yaki dango, roasted rice cakes. We got the soy sauce flavor, and each one was 310 yen.
The way the leaves fell onto the water, it reminded me of the cherry blossoms.
It was my first time seeing the leaves at night (I didn’t even know it was a thing!), and it was definitely worth it. All the trees were so beautiful, that my friend had even said, “It’s so sad that before light, no one knew how pretty and different these look at night.” Yes, the invention of light is definitely appreciated in times like these, haha.
Another reason to appreciate Japan’s four seasons.
It’s summer! (However, as I write this, I’m huddled up in my dark kitchen because it’s super cloudy outside..) Summer in Japan means fireworks, festivals, and yukatas. I absolutely love wearing yukatas (summer kimonos), and this year I decided to get a new one.
My friends from America actually happened to be visiting, so we decided to buy yukatas for them so that we could all wear them and find an omatsuri. We also took a trip to Koedo Kawagoe, a small town in Saitama retaining the culture and atmosphere of the Edo era in Japan. There are plenty of old storehouse merchant houses and some great authentic Japanese cuisine restaurants.
The main street can get a little crowded, but it definitely wasn’t unbearable or filled with just tourists. There are plenty of little side streets to explore as well.
After walking around for a bit, we found an udon restaurant to go to for lunch. It was actually already about 2-3pm, so some of the restaurants were closed!
We got really full after a great lunch, but as they say, betsu bara (separate stomach) for dessert! Some of my friends decided to sip on some roasted green tea, while I opted for some cold ice cream.
One popular street in Koedo Kawagoe is Kashiya Yokocho, or “penny candy alley.” It’s basically a small road with lots of shops selling traditional, nostalgic candy from the past. Unfortunately, again, we were a little late and most of the shops were closed for the day.
When it was evening, I started searching for a festival to go to. I wanted to go to one with food stalls, so we decided to hop on a train to Yonohonmachi (与野本町) to go to the Yono Summer Festival!
Athough there were definitely lots of people, rather than a famous festival where it’s so crowded that everyone is pushing through the crowd, it felt more as if just the neighborhood kids and families came to enjoy a nearby festival. There were a lot of food stalls as I had hoped, including yakisoba, takoyaki, shaved ice, baby castella, okonomiyaki, and more.
The stalls all closed around 9, so we all started to head home around then (but of course, not without taking some yukata photos first!)
Wearing a yukata really makes you feel like it’s summer. I’ve still got a week of finals left, but I’m looking forward to wearing it a few more times this year!
One thing I love about Japan are the flowers. I’ve never really paid much attention to them before, but here, the flowers are blooming everywhere according to the season and I find myself being late to class sometimes because I have to stop and take some photos.
I loved the cherry blossoms in spring, and it was so sad to see all the pink around the city slowly diminishing. But not too long after, the hydrangeas started popping up everywhere. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t even notice then. One day I wouldn’t even think about them, and the next they’re suddenly in full bloom all over the city. I don’t know what kind of magic that is (or if I’m just not paying enough attention to my surroundings..) but I’m not complaining!
But the sad thing about it is, as quickly as they came, they’re beginning to disappear. But this is a sadder, slower process. I can see my favorite hydrangeas around the neighborhood fading in color and quantity. Even the way that these flowers die is pretty. They used to be so vibrant, but now they’re much lighter but maintaining its shape.
I am actually pretty sad about not being able to see them for a while, but on the bright side, I’ve started seeing some sunflowers popping up on my way to school in the morning! Looking forward to some beautiful sunflowers!