WANNAMESHI COLUMN #003

Why Autumn is the Season of Eating

In Japan, autumn is a season for all kinds of booms.

You may have heard of phrases such as “autumn for reading” (dokusho no aki), “autumn for the arts” (geijutsu no aki), and “autumn for sports” (supotsu no aki), which are just some of the activities that people enjoy but don’t necessarily need to happen in the autumn. Regardless, as long as something is mentioned together with autumn (…no aki), people automatically think it is a staple of this beautiful season. After all, autumn in Japan does possess an incredible magic.
Such sayings of “autumn for something,” or autumn for anything really, are possibly the most convincing phrases for a Japanese person to recognize and accept as an unwavering truth.

In reality, as the saying goes minori no aki, or fruitful autumn, autumn is the season for all kinds of foods to ripen and be eaten in Japan. This includes new rice, matsutake mushrooms, Pacific saury, kabocha pumpkin, and chestnuts, as well as fruits such as apples, pears, persimmons, and grapes. The list goes on and on. Autumn is primetime for sampling the main ingredients of Japanese cuisine as most are in season during this time. In any case, things taste the best when in season.

For this reason, autumn may just be the best season to maximize the flavors of Japanese cuisine. In particular, new rice is a delicious must try. With each bite, you can taste the essence of Japanese cuisine imparted from the spirit of Japan’s native earth. If you are ever considering a visit to Japan, I recommend you do so in the autumn.

Another reason that autumn is said to be the season of eating is because our body naturally has an increased appetite as the temperature cools in order to replenish our energy after getting beat up by the summer heat. Moreover, it may also be an animal instinct to acquire as much nutrients as we can in preparation for the winter for our own survival. As such, the saying truly has a firm basis from the standpoint of animal instinct and body biology.

This includes those of you on a diet. Don’t worry so much and try to enjoy all the good foods you can have in the autumn.
There’s no such thing as a weight gain, if everyone’s gaining together, right!