One day there is stifling heat and oppressive conditions, when it’s almost too hot to be outside, and then within a couple of days it starts to feel mild in comparison and without the high humidity. Gone are the late afternoon thunderstorms so typical in summer, replaced by cooler days, blue skies and clearer nights.
Tsukimi (moon-viewing) is thus an autumn custom, held in mid September. In fact, there are several public holidays on offer in this ‘fall’ season. Respect for the Aged Day and Autumnal Equinox Day are two other holidays that occur in September. In October there is a day off for Health and Sports Day. November has Culture Day and Labor Thanksgiving Day. So this is another reason that people in Japan welcome autumn.
It’s also a busy season, beginning with the rice harvest – a major even in rural Japan. Even nature is busy, not only with the changing leaves, but there is a ‘change of guard’ among the insects as well. The hornets (yellow-jackets) have made their nests for winter, and are nowhere to be seen. Replacing them are squadrons of dragonflies – the blue and green variety initially, and then the red and brown variety as one heads into deep autumn.