My mom and I always call this time of year the “shoulder season,” when the last rush of summer produce tumbles in and people begin to set their sights on the soups and warm comforts of the coming months. Those of you in the States are probably already donning your fall jackets, scarves, and other cool weather accoutrements, as have many of us in Japan. I, for one, have never been so happy to wear pants, long sleeves, and boots! Autumn is indeed a very special time here, in part because people are eager to bid farewell to the hot and humid Japanese summer.
Moving somewhere new, even within your own country, can be a scary and daunting task. Besides all the obvious environmental changes one must adjust to, there are unfamiliar customs to abide by, neighbors to meet, friends to make, and perhaps even a new language to learn. And then, of course, there’s the food.
Besides being in a country where very little English is spoken, what worried me most about moving to Japan was this last factor. It’s not that I don’t like Japanese food, but rather that I had no idea what I’d find in the grocery stores and markets.