Before leaving for my first trip I often read high praise on the beauty of the various seasons in Japan, the colors of the leaves in autumn, the delicacy of the flowers that bloom in spring, the magic of snow in winter and the boundless green of summer.
I did not understand, I was even a bit annoyed. I mean, don’t we have seasons in Italy? Isn’t there snow in the Italian mountains too? Don’t the flowers bloom also in Italy? The leaves, don’t they change color in autumn also here in Italy?
The answer came to me after several trips, after having experienced all the seasons in Japan. The answer is simply “yes”. Yes, nature in Italy is magnificent as much as in Japan. Yes, the seasons follow each other in Italy just as they do in Japan. In the Land of the Rising Sun, however, there is something different. Seasons become part of every single daily gesture, there is still a cultural tradition, rituals related to the seasons that in Italy we are probably losing in the big cities.
A series of habits that let you feel the presence of the seasons as if they were a special new guest to welcome.
There are dishes and seasonal ingredients in the menus, not only the most renowned restaurants, but also coffee shop and popular chains have season items in the menus, even the themes and songs of the advertising change with the seasons and so the product packaging. Items on sale in stores change with the seasons and follow their colors and symbolism but also there are many festivals and events related to nature.
Many rituals like picnics under the cherry blossoms in spring and baths in the hot thermal waters surrounded by snow in winter. In a way, I would say that the seasons simply stand out more in Japan compared to Italy and now, after many trips, I have learned to better observe the nature even when I am in Italy and look for beauty in unexpected corners.
I would like to end this reflection with some pictures I took in Japan. I hope you enjoy them. What about you? Have you had the same impression of Japan? Which season do you prefer?
春 (Haru) – Spring
夏 (Natsu) – Summer
秋 (Aki) – Fall
冬 (Fuyu) – Winter
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