One of the romantic things about living in Japan is just how much life changes with the seasons. Decorating color schemes change to match the prominent flora, and conversations about seasonal foods do not start and end with pumpkin spice lattes. The cuisine actually does change based on the produce cycle. This is the time of roasted sweet potatoes sold from trucks that meander through rural streets, and simmering hot pots.
Of course, greetings change with the season, too, as I was reminded this morning.
Letters and formal emails begin and/or close with a comment on the season. Most times, it seems to be a comment about the season’s health risks and hoping the other person avoids them. This morning’s greetings at work were something like that, but verbal. At least three people welcomed me with Akita’s traditional mid-Autumn greeting: “Kaeta ka?”
Or, in English, “Snow tires on yet?”
It’s not even Thanksgiving!