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By Yuki Iida

Flavors of the Fading Seasons

Golden gingko leaves. Photo by author.

Golden gingko leaves. Photo by author.

A gash of wind passes, and you move your eyes to the slice of sky peeking between the two rows of golden gingko trees. Tens of hundreds of fan-shaped leaves dance in the air before it joins the golden carpet by your feet. The scenery that surrounds everyone may be accepted as something normal, and may not be seen as something of great importance, but to me, who have lived more than half my life in countries that do not have the four seasons, the changing seasons are astonishing.

I took biology in high school, so I knew all about the chemical changes happening according to the changing seasons so I knew the logic, it is entirely different to see the change by my own eyes. I have lived in South Africa, which does have seasons, but the changes in the seasons were dull compared to Japan. There were many trees that changed to their autumn leaves, but there were far more evergreen trees.  Even if they did change color and dropped their leaves, most of them merely turned to shades of brown instead of the bright yellows, oranges and reds found in Japan.

Yuki_Seasons_GingkoAfter the autumn leaves color the campus, the leaves would make the branches bare, making the winter visually silent and cold. Soon the camellia trees found around campus and lining the road to the Komaba International Lodge will bloom, as the ones next to the cafeteria have already done. Komaba campus has a selection of plants that represent the seasons. Within the numerous trees that change into autumn leaves, the Gingko trees are one of the most representative autumn trees in Japan. As winter approach, the camellias would bloom their white, pink and red flowers. At the coldest times in January and February, the small plum forest at the corner of the campus would let the small flowers decorate their bare branches and emit a fragrant sweet scent. The cherry trees in front of the gym would bloom as the plums end, and would signal that spring has come. The seasons changes as the young green leaves mix with the faint pink flowers, and eventually take them over.

Camellia flowers blooming next to the cafeteria. Photo by author.

Camellia flowers blooming next to the cafeteria. Photo by author.

I have only seen cherry blossoms once in my life, and I will not forget the beauty of it. I cannot wait till I see the changing seasons with my own eyes and feel the four seasons with my own skin. To me, all the signs of the changes in the seasons seem fresh and astonishing, but maybe it has lost its flavor to those who have experienced it many times throughout their lives. I am sure that though it may no longer be something new to you, but if you start to look for the little signs nature gives, the fading seasons should add flavor to your everyday lives!

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