I have heard so many stories about the harshness of Japanese winter and coming from Jamaica where we have nice sunshine, blue skies and beaches all year round I had no winter experience to compare it with. Nevertheless, I think seasons can teach us so much. Growing up I read a lot of Robert Frost poems and how he used seasons to symbolise different stages in human life and I can finally say “a girl can relate!”
When you think of winter, uncomfortable temperatures come to mind, wearing layers upon layers of clothing, the daytime lasting for a few hours, in Japan it’s extremely dark by 5:30pm, the trees and plants which have shed their leaves in autumn to prepare for the cold are now struggling to stay alive, the beautiful singing of birds are now few and in between and all around, you sense solitude. Japan already feels lonely so just picture your very environment screaming loneliness! This very description is why my winter experience was such an eye opener. Don’t get me wrong I would much rather have spring all the time – even in my life I wish all things were happy, blossoming and colorful all year – but just the very nature of the winter season and not wanting to go outside or do any activities forces you to reflect in solitude.
My first Japanese winter experience symbolises introspection and clarification. As much as I want to be wearing maxi dress, sandals, sunglasses and crop tops, I have a true appreciation for the season and like nature’s response to the changes I took the opportunity to allow the elements to batter me. I struggled like the trees but stayed anchored by my goals, dreams and belief in God because amidst the harshness and deadness that the season gives, it also marks the end of all the season cycles, which means that a fresh and new season is fast approaching and change is inevitable.