3 Oct

I was recently teaching one of my Japanese ESL students about Fall/Autumn/あき. We learned words such as “cornucopia”, “raking leaves”, and “jack-o-lantern.” I asked him what words come to mind when he thinks of Fall. He replied, “Mushrooms“.  Mushrooms?!? I was seriously confused.

image from

After some research, it turns out that mushrooms (きのこ)are in fact a big part of autumn in Japan, along with chestnuts (くり), satsumaimo (さつまいも), grapes (ぶどう), and persimmons (かき).

It is so interesting to me how different cultures view the seasons so differently. In America, Fall means Halloween, Thanksgiving, Pumpkin Pie, wearing layers, back-to-school, and soup (well, at least to me).

In Japan, Fall/Aki often means taking a special trip to observe the beautiful colored leaves(こうよう), undoukai (うんどうかい), honoring grandparents, fall food (mentioned above), red dragonflies (あかとんぼ), typhoons (たいふう), and moon-viewing (つきみ).

Am I missing anything else? What is your favorite thing about Fall where you live? What are your favorite Japanese Fall foods?

Click HERE for Fall activities and recipes from Kids.Nifty.

We celebrated the beginning of fall by picking apples:

2 Responses to “Autumn:あき”

  1. HapaMama October 5, 2011 at 11:51 PM #

    I never thought of harvesting mushrooms in the fall, as we normally buy our mushrooms in the States. However, I was really interested when I saw (in the Moosewood Cookbook, of all places) suggestions for different vegetables to add to miso soup depending on the season. Personally, I love autumn foods, clothes, scents.

  2. Nami | Just One Cookbook October 7, 2011 at 1:02 PM #

    Haha, mushroom must be Matsutake for sure. Your student is a very gourmet. 😉 I really miss Japanese fall – lots of great savory food and beautiful foliage… lots of cultural events. Here in California, the trees are green or no leaves…

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