Today is October 1st, the first day of the new semester. It truly feels like autumn, now; the mornings are cool, the air is fresh, and the days seem shorter. Also, the air-conditioning in the school is off; it’s much nicer now with the doors and windows letting a pleasant breeze blow through the teachers’ lounge.
Every year on the first day of October, Kishoukan recognizes “koromo-gae,” or the changing of clothes. The students have put on their fall/winter uniforms: longer jackets, heavier pants, long-sleeved shirts, black instead of blue. The teachers, too, are supposed to forego short-sleeved shirts, though we get more leeway.
I love this small ritual, this routine marker of the passing seasons. It’s very Japanese, to integrate nature and the changing weather into their daily lives, rather than blocking it all out the way we do in the States.
I’ll try to remember the wisdom of this when I’m shivering in my insulation-free apartment this winter.