Yesterday Akii and I cleared gutters and pruned and raked borders in preparation for winter. It was tough to cut back roses, still producing buds, but to be sure of a good flowering next year, they had to go: inside the cottage, in a vase on a windowsill. Today everything is frosted white and shining in bright sunshine. So just in time…
Today is also November 5, which passed me by with little to no consideration for 26 years while in Japan. There fireworks are let off seasonally in summer, with displays along rivers and around the coast. Great memories of sitting on our beach in Zushi, with cold beer and cooling fans, surrounded by families and girls parading in summer kimono, as the sky filled with light, colour and sound. The fireworks were let off on rafts or from fishing boats (comandeered for the occasion) criss-crossing the bay.
Fireworks in Japan then are about the enjoyment of summer heat and celebrating life at its most vibrant.
Here they are about historical retribution, standing around in cold weather and stamping feet to keep warm, and keeping in tune with the dying of the year.
I know which I prefer.
However I am prepared to adapt, and if the rain stays off have yet another bonfire set to light the sky while hopefully not afflicting neighbours with smoke.
In the meantime I’m off to canvass support (sell tickets, persuade buyers to contribute food) for our local community Christmas party on December 13. Amazing to think that only eight days later will be the shortest day, and then we start swinging back towards Spring.
Yes, optimism is my second name.