Fall is my favorite time of year in Japan. The weather is nearly always pleasant, and there’s nothing like going for a drive in the mountains around J-List to take in the beauty of the leaves as they change color. Autumn is known as minori no aki, shokuyoku no aki or “the season of harvest, the season of hearty appetites,” and some of the most exquisite Japanese dishes can be enjoyed during this time of year. Fall is also the season for undokai, or School Sports Day, a very big deal to anyone with kids in Japan. The events are almost always the same, no matter what part of the country you’re in: students are organized into teams (usually “red” and “white” though at my kids’ school they used the names of mountains in our prefecture) and they run relay races, have tug-of-war battles, or play a game that involves throwing red bean bags into baskets. For some reason, these sporting events feature strings with flags from various countries hanging from them, as in the image below, and children will compete to see how many countries they can name.
Fall is the season for eating, and School Sports Day.