It's finally fall here in Nagoya. This week, scarves alone are insubstantial and bare-handed bike riding causes the fingers to stiffen. We shoved the neglected fan into the back of the closet only yesterday (traveling has replaced tidying these days) and the gas heater now sits on the tatami. My favorite activity is nearly clinging to the heater, which is also bad for the hands, but we've resorted primarily to warm blankets and Japanese-style baths.
Before I recount our trip to Taiwan I must write about our excursion to Sakushima Island last weekend. Our student, Yoshiko, loves taking teachers on day trips. This has been my favorite thus far with ideal light and autumn weather. Thanks to local university students, the island is dappled with art and the population of three hundred finally has some visitors.
As we headed to the island's western side, we met a goat, a ridiculous ostrich, and plenty of Jizo (the protector of children) statues. Around noon we stopped at Yoshiko's favorite restaurant, which she's personally ridden with foreigners, for the local speciality: fried clams over rice with sides of miso soup, pickled daikon, and seaweed soaked in vinegar and lemon juice. Eating local is always rewarding!
Light and shadows framed our day of exploration. Everything looked crisper and almost theatric with the autumn rays at work. Sakushima is an ideal place to appreciate the soul of the season, even with the deafening wind. Just bring a coat!