Autumn is just around the corner in Japan, which means things are changing. The temperature is cooling (ever so slightly) in the evenings, the leaves are starting to change color. You can buy pumpkin shaped and flavored cakes at local bakeries and the lobbies of most Karaoke parlors are decked out in pumpkins, skeletons, and glittery black cut-outs.
Top 4 Signs of Autumn in Japan:
1. Everyone starts layering up.
Starting in mid September, no matter what the temperature actually is, people start layering up with hats, scarves, jackets, and tights. Gone are the summer colors and floral prints. Instead, there is an emphasis on bold neon accessories, blacks, and earthy tones.
2. Sweet potato flavored everything.
Sweet potato cakes, sweet potato shaped and flavored ice cream, and hot sweet potatoes roasting at the 100yen Lawson’s stores are a staple in the fall and winter. A popular school activity this time of year is the digging of sweet potatoes. We’ve already received two bags of fresh sweet potatoes, dug up by my husband’s Japanese nieces and nephews.
3. Everyone starts plugging in their toilets.
We plugged our toilet in yesterday. The heated toilet seat is a familiar and welcomed addition to the house. We leave it unplugged in late-Spring and Summer, but as soon as it starts getting a bit chilly, we plug our “throne” back into the wall.
4. Pumpkin Spiced (Western) Drinks.
Found most commonly at Western restaurants and cafes, pumpkin spiced drinks, such as a pumpkin spiced latte, a pumpkin spiced hot chocolate, or a pumpkin spice Cafe Au Lait just started popping up on seasonal menus. For me, that’s how I know that Autumn is officially in season.
What’s your favourite autumn activity?