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Highlighting JAPAN

November 2015

Colors of Autumn

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PRIME MINISTER'S DIARY
- The 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
- Visit to Jamaica
- Inauguration of the Reshuffled Third Abe Cabinet

COVER STORY
Colors of Autumn

FEATURES

How Autumn Fills Japanese Hearts
Interview with University of Tokyo Professor Robert Campbell

What meaning does autumn hold for Japanese people? We spoke to Robert Campbell a graduate school professor at the University of Tokyo and a researcher in Japanese literature active in various forms of media, including television and newspapers about the way Japanese literature portrays the season, the unique ways people enjoy autumn in Japan, and more.

A Dance Fit for the Gods

Ancient appeals to deities come in many forms. In Japan one of the oldest and most dynamic is kagura, a ritual dance associated with autumn that according to legend was entertaining enough to coax the goddess of the sun to forget hiding and come back out of a cave.

Thatched Impressions

Once a flourishing post town, Luchi-juku is home to many traditional thatched-roof residences, and residents adhere to an annual tradition of harvesting pampas grass every November to preserve their classical and eco-friendly roofs.

A Celebration of the Arts

A fall tradition celebrating student creativity, the bunkasai or culture festival is months in the planning, all organized and run by the students themselves.

The Sweet Taste of Autumn

Fall is harvest season for Japanese chestnuts. Chestnuts are one of the signature flavors of autumn in Japan, consumed alone, in wagashi (Japanese sweets) and in popular dishes like chestnut rice (kuri gohan). One of Japan's most prominent chestnut-growing regions, Obuse in Nagano Prefecture, offers an especially prized variation of the species.

Japanese Wine Comes of Age

Grapes are emblematic of autumn in Japan, particularly in Katsunuma in Yamanashi Prefecture, the cradle of the country's wine production. The Koshu wine produced here pairs extremely well with Japanese food and is drawing serious attention from overseas wine enthusiasts.

Running Through the Autumn Leaves

The Kurobe Gorge Railway rolls through approximately twenty kilometers of grand natural settings, offering breathtaking seasonal views. Its busiest season comes in autumn, when visitors ride the line to enjoy its sweeping panoramas of fall leaves.

My Japanese Autumn

For Japanese people, autumn is a special time of year when the weather is at its most pleasant and delicious food comes into season. We asked foreign residents living in Japan to tell us about their most memorable experiences of autumn in Japan.

SERIES

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Spelling Out the Message in Real Time

Thanks to this new technology that converts audio announcements into multiple foreign languages in close to real time, essential information can now be channeled to visitors who cannot understand Japanese and the elderly or disabled who have difficulty hearing.

HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Game of Generals

An intriguing board game called shogi glimpsed in a popular Japanese anime series inspired Karolina Styczynska to seek out opponents online and eventually journey to Japan to learn more. Now she's the world's highest-ranked foreign woman in what's known as "the generals' game."

WOMEN IN THE LEAD
Fermenting a Virtuous Cycle

Lina Sakai's company Fermenstation collaborates with local businesses in Oshu, Iwate Prefecture to make ethanol, animal feed and other products from rice for a self-sustaining community.

DELECTABLE JOURNEYS
Tohoku's Autumn Treat

In the cooling weather of fall, the people of Tohoku warm up with family, neighbors, colleagues and friends over communal pots of tasty, warming, fragrant stew at parties known as "imonikai" a culinary custom that stretches back to the Edo Era.