Oct 1, 2009

Japanese Seasons and Design of KIMONO. (1/2)

Japan has four seasons.

Of course, I know there are a lot of countries that have four seasons in the world.
(I have visited Canada twice, summer was full of sun and winter was full of snow!)
But Japanese seasons have deep relation with kimono, and maybe it's a little unique.
So, I want to talk about Japanese seasons.

In Japan, there is temperatures fluctuate of 40 degrees in summer and winter, and the change of temperature maintains an even pace to gradual throughout a year.
Moreover, Japan is at east end of continental, is surrounded with sea, is very humid, and is affected by five air masses.

Flowers, plants, trees, food, animals, sky and air are rich in changing.
Japanese people in the old days have had and felt 6 or 24 seasons.
It can be guessed it is related to farming and sensibility of those days.

A lot of Japanese people are still feeling 6 seasons that are spring, rainy season (Tsuyu), summer, autumn rain (Shurin), autumn and winter.
And 24 seasons also are still living in calender.

Not only having distinct seasons, Japanese people really love enjoying season and weather.

For example, in spring, they pay attention to "cherry‐blossom front" and "cherry-blossom forecast" that is broadcasted on TV weather-report everyday, wait for blooming, enjoy viewing it, and are reluctant to leave.

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I present a famous Tanka written by Narihira ARIWARA [825-880].
Tanka is traditional Japanese poem containing five lines of 5, 7, 5, 7 and 7.

Yo no na ka ni
Ta e te sa ku ra no
Na ka ri se ba
Ha ru no ko ko ro wa
No do ke ka ra ma shi

"If there were no cherry blossoms in the world,
my mind in spring should be calmer."

I'm terribly concerned about when cherry-blossom fall.
Is it gone today? Or tomorrow?
Cherry-blossom upset me everyday, every year.
But because it is evanescent, it is really beautiful.

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They change their food, furniture, tableware, restaurant's menu, goods for sale, style of goods's display, etc. according to the season.
It's not only for avoiding heat or cold, but also for enjoying and getting along with the season.
So, Japanese people receive and respect seasons, and adopt it to everyday life.

Perhaps, such customs are fading now except old family that live in old house like prestigious family in Kyoto.
Business scene like restaurants or shops is still running with seasons, but we use air-conditioner and eat greenhouse grown vegetables at home.

But today, I ate first Mikan (Japanese orange / mandarin orange)!
Mikan season is about between September and February.
Air is full of smell of fragrant orange-colored olive.
Sky at sunset is aglow and burning.
Now, I'm feeling autumn and looking forward to persimmon!
Persimmon season is October and November!

How about your country?
How do you live and enjoy with seasons?

It continue to Japanese Seasons and Design of KIMONO. (2/2)

► KIDORAKU Japan.com - Column #00003


  1. In autumn I'm looking forward to all the red and yellow leaves on the trees. I want to wear kimono and take pictures surrounded by different color leaves. :)

  2. I'm looking forward to leaves of autumn colors, too!
    Leaves and that shadow must will make beautiful contrast with kimono.

    I guess kimono of pale color and obi of deep color look very nice under colored leaves.
    But purple and autumn colors match well too...and black is also good...Oh, I'm at a loss.

    I'll wear kimono tomorrow and I have to think about autumn coordinate.
    It's so enjoyable:)

  3. Please post pictures if you wear kimono! When I think autumn, I think of orange and brown and red kimono. :) I will post pictures when I wear kimono with autumn leaves too (leaves are still green where I live).

    I think black kimono with either yellow or pale orange, red or yellow will look good :) Can you tell I like bright color combinations? :)

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  5. Lyuba-chan, Orange & brown & red are exactly autumn color and look good with black. (^-^)
    And I love bright color ensemble like black & yellow!
    Maybe do you like black & yellow combination on my new post?

  6. Oden, I love that combination! It is my favorite! We usually say "I like to steal your kimono" when we like it a lot! :) :) :) Meaning I would like to have one just like it!

    Did you see my black kimono with golden obi pictures in my blog?

  7. Lyuba-chan, I had seen all of your blog, but I couldn't find black & gold...
    Maybe the picture you're using for profile?
    It seems black kimono and dark gray obi on my PC.

    But I like this black & "dark gray" the best in your blog.
    A sense of beauty is necessary to using close colors.
    And if it is black & gold actually, I still love the combination the best!

    It's just "I like to steal your kimono" !

    ...It's so nice expression. :)

  8. Oden, yes the kimono in my profile picture :) The obi I'm wearing is pale gold, so it is possible that it seems grey on some computer screens.

    I'm glad you like that expression too! :)