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Thread: How much do you feel the passing of the seasons ?

  1. #1
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Question How much do you feel the passing of the seasons ?

    Japanese people are famous for being very aware of the passing of the seasons. They organise special social events for blossom viewings in Spring and autumn leaves viewing, in particular. People around the world have different ways of celebrating the seasons. In Britain for instance, many people (e.g. Neopagans) go to ancient sites like Stonehenge at the summer or winter solstices for the sun rise or sun set on the longest and shortest day of the year. In the West, Christmas is a way of celebrating winter, with the typical winter decorations (including fake snow if necessary). In the Netherlands, people go and watch the tulips and other flowers (jonquils, petunias...) in Spring in specially designed gardens like in Keukenhof.


    Personally, when I was in primary/elementary school, we had weekly pupil magazines, and they had different designs and activities in accordance with every season (it was more accurate than just the '4 seasons', as every month had something special). Contrarily to Japan, one of the most obvious change of seasons apart from the flowers, was the daily length of sunlight. In the Benelux, in winter the sun rises around 8:30am and sets as early as 4pm. So people go to school/work when it's still dark and go back home when it's already dark. So winter is clearly associated with darkness, cold, artificial lights (e.g. Xmas decorations), wood fire in the fire place, warm clothes, etc. In summer, sun rises around 5am and sets around 10:30pm. So (early) summer is associated with light. Coming from the countryside, it is also associated with the croaking of the frogs, the singing of the birds till late at night, or scent of various flowers and plants (which all completely disappear in winter). There are of course many blossoing flowers in spring and almost all trees have red and yellow leaves in autumn, but there aren't any particular tree (cherry, momiji) which are planted in lines of groves expressedly for blossom or leaves viewing like in Japan.

    In Tokyo, there is hardly any of these differences between summer and winter. Flowers still bloom in winter, and the sun sets around 7pm at latest in summer (6pm in late summer, against 5pm in winter). Tokyo being a city, we also can't smell or hear so much difference in the nature (apart from the cicadas from late Spring to early Autumn). So, I feel that Northern Europe is better to feel the particularities of winter and summer, while Japan is better for spring and autumn.

    How do you celebrate/admire the seasons, how much do you care about it, and how important was it when you were a child ?

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  2. #2
    Horizon Rider Kinsao's Avatar
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    I like the English seasons... uhh... even though I often joke that I didn't get a summer. It's true what you say about the length of days and the amount of sunlight. I nearly always vacation in the far north of England, just when the days are longest, and even by travelling that distance I can detect a difference in the length of the days. I like the long summer days! In the north, the sun doesn't go down until about 10 pm and at 10.30 there is still perceptible light. This summer I was driving back from a friend's house at midnight, in the middle of the quiet countryside, with no city lights to cause "light pollution", and I could still see the light from the sun spilling up from just below the horizon.

    On the down side, winter is pretty dark. If it's raining it seems like evening at 3.30 pm. But it does make for that nice cosy feeling...

    I like the autumn a lot, too; especially days when it's all crisp and frosty and sunny at the same time, with lots of bright orange and red trees. I'm lucky - I walk through the park every day, so I get the chance to see the trees, and plenty of squirrels too!

    In fact, I like all the seasons. The summer isn't very spectacular here, of course, but we get at least a few Mediterranean days to enjoy each summer! This year, I could swim in the North Sea and it was waaaaaaaarm! Mmmmmm!

    I don't know that people "celebrate" the different seasons as such here We don't have anything such as cherry-blossom viewing... Although there is the "conker season", hehe! And blackberrying is something many people do in the late summer, mainly if you live in the country - of course, fruit picking is a seasonal thing and it's becoming more and more popular for people to make their own wine and jam.

    Some people celebrate the solstices, and although I'm not neo-Pagan or Druid, I sometimes feel sorry these kind of disappeared from "mainstream" and I wish people would pay a little more attention to them. But of course, there is Christmas, the main festival of winter, and Easter, the festival of spring (gone into mainstream regardless of "religion").

    At primary schools I think it's quite common to have sort of themed displays showing the current season, decorated e.g. with leaves etc. for autumn. Also, one primary school exercise is often to keep a "weather chart" - I don't know that it's related to the seasons, though.

  3. #3
    Your Goddess is here Ma Cherie's Avatar
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    Let's see, when I was much younger in elementary school we would have what is called a "Blizzard pary" to represent the arrival of winter. We'd have hot chocolate and marshmellows. That was always nice. When spring came along we celebrate it by writing poems about the blossoming flowers and the leaves on the trees. But that I'm older, it doesn't seem like people care anymore about the changing seasons. It's like "Oh it's fall now" or "It must be summer." God, I miss being a kid sometimes.

    It's sad because my favorite seasons are the fall and spring, because to me it's like a balance. It's not too cold or too hot. Daylight savings time is good way for me to feel the changing seasons.
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    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    When I was a child, I used to pick up and eat cherries and berries or play in the 2m-high maise/corn or 1m-high wheat fields in summer, then wait for September to pick up the apples, plums and chestnuts.

    In winter, I would play on the frozen pond near my house and test the resistance of the ice (it was just 1m deep, so even if it broke there was little danger). Or I would watch the ice stalactites getting longer day after day along the roof's gutter. With some friends, we would try to trace back the foot prints of a rabbit or fox in the snow...

    In Tokyo it never freezes and snows like 2 days a year, so there is no real winter. That's why it feels weird when Tokyoites who have never lived in the countryside tell me proudly about how distinct the seasons are in Japan. My wife had never seen stalactites, never picked up fruits from a tree or experienced late evening light, for instance.

    At school, we also learned the connection between the name of the months and the seasons. For example, "April" comes from Latin "aprire" which means "to open" or "to blossom". This is clearer with the short-lived French Republican Calendar, in which all months were named after seasonal activities. For instance, Germinal (from Latin germen, "seed") started around 21 March as it was the season of sowing. Or Vendémiaire (from Latin vindemia, "vintage") started around 23 September, the vintage season. We are also taught that spring "officially" starts at the spring equinox (21 March), summer at the summer solstice (21 June), etc. They even announce it at the radio and TV in Belgium.

    However, when I ask 'when' a season supposedly starts or ends in Japan, the Japanese have no idea and have never really wondered about it. I get approximates that vary greatly from one person to another. Again, aren't Japanese people notorious for the importance they attach to the (their) seasons ? It doesn't seem so from my education and experience. Maybe do they see it from a Thai or Hawaiian point of view ?

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    Regular Member MeAndroo's Avatar
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    Oh, seasons...yeah I've heard of those. I hear that in some places, leaves change color and even fall off of trees. I also heard that sometimes water solidifies and people throw large chunks of it at each other for fun, or use it to construct crude replicas of overweight bipeds. The only shot I had at engaging in such an activity was a snow day in Tokyo, which was quickly ruined by the snow taking on a rather nasty brownish-blackish tint by midday.

    Here in southern California, we don't get "seasons." Weather has a mind of its own, as evidenced by the rain during typical summer months, and days in October of triple digit heat. Half of me envies many other parts of the world, and half of me is happy I don't have to buy winter clothes.
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    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    I have heard that many Japanese consider the first time in the year they hear the うぐいす (bird) sing to mark the beginning of spring.

    I have no idea what an うぐいす sounds like, so I just consider the first WAAAAAAAN WAAAAAN WAAAAAAAAN WAAAAAAAN WUP Waaaan of the bosozoku as the signal of the arrival of spring.

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    As the Rush Comes Duo's Avatar
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    There is only one season in brussels, rain, so there is on solemn passing of seasons here anyways ;)

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    DON'T PANIC! Tsuyoiko's Avatar
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    The seasons mean a lot to me. As Maciamo says, they are very apparent in Northern Europe. I like to look for signs of the seasons, like sometimes if I am watching TV I will try to work out what time of year it was filmed - if there are cherry blossoms it's April, or leaves on the ground it's October.

    For me, Christmas is about the winter solstice. The fairy lights and candles are our way of bringing light into a dark world. Getting drunk is part of it to, because we need some fun to take our minds off the depressing weather. We exchange presents because we need each other at that time of year, and it's nice to show our appreciation.

    I also love spring. It is wonderful to see the first shoots breaking through the ground, and the buds coming on the trees. In April it cheers me up to see the tulips in the garden as I leave for another boring day at work, and to drive past the cherry trees with their gorgeous blossom - it is hard to think of anything more beautiful than a cherry tree in full bloom.

    The seasons help me to be in tune with Nature, as I can see that she is alive. Also, when things look bad in winter, you know that they are going to get better when spring comes around. There is a lesson there for life as well. My true name poem that I wrote is based on the seasons. Anyone want to hear it?
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    Hullu RockLee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikecash
    I have heard that many Japanese consider the first time in the year they hear the うぐいす (bird) sing to mark the beginning of spring.

    I have no idea what an うぐいす sounds like, so I just consider the first WAAAAAAAN WAAAAAN WAAAAAAAAN WAAAAAAAN WUP Waaaan of the bosozoku as the signal of the arrival of spring.
    Hahahaha, oh Mike...you have a way of making something sound amuzing But yeah, I guess you are right


    As for me, summer in Belgium is rather relative, you can count the days it's really hot on your 2 hands!In summer the days are long and in the morning it's bright early, when autumn comes it's dark until 8am or later and it's dark early at night.Winter isn't that much as there is hardly to no snow spring...well , let's say I can't make a difference between spring and summer
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    Junior Member DoctorP's Avatar
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    I've noticed here in Okinawa that there really is no transition period...all of a sudden the temp drops and...Hello...it's winter! At least back home everything happened gradually...trees turning color, different smells, it's wonderful!

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    Regular Member Tokis-Phoenix's Avatar
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    I was brought up on a traditional farm in england, so the seasons were very important to my family. The things i enjoyed most about the seasons as a kid growing up on the farm in my small villiage community were;
    a. Spring time, i loved seeing all the snow drops, blue bells, daffodils and tulips growing as a kid, they were the first color to grow in my mums large garden and it realy cheered the place up in the receeding winter snows .
    Then there was eater time, as a young kid my local church used to hold an easter egg hunt in the graveyard and all the kids in the villiage used to go up there and search for the chocolate eggs hidden amoung the tombstones and trees. In sunday school we made all sorts of things to celebrate easter from decorating eggs and doing pictures to making costumes, which i realy liked as a kid. There were also the lambs if i remember correctly, which were very cute and my dad used to put me in the lamb pens when i was little to play with the lambs while he worked.
    If i remember correctly, the deer herds would also begin to get quite frisky at this time of year, although you could see the males fighting with each other locking antlers at almost anytime of year.

    Eaater celebrations actually derives from the ancient neolithic religeons of england. Farming was especially important back then as pretty much everybodys lives revolved around sowing the crops, putting the animals out to feilds, rearing the baby animals and making products out of milk and meat and furs, tending the crops and bringing in the harvest and shearing the sheep and treating animal skins for wear and weaving and making cloths out of wool and the such like etc. Bringing in the harvest and collecting all the summer and autum fruits and nuts, spring cleaning your house and repairing it after winter and tending to the fields tidying up all the weeds and also making new feilds and making foods according to what could be grown at that particular session were also important factors etc.
    So many religeons back then evolved far more around the sessions and farming and the weather more than anything else back then. The reasons why we have such things as the easter bunny and eggs and chickens and things is partly because people were far more aware of the sessons back then as they played a huge part in life.

    The hare was the first animal to breed in spring, much earlier then any other animal, so it became a symbol of the new year and when to start sowing the first crops. The same goes for eggs, as the they were considered a symbol of new fertility and life, a new beginning, so in turn they too also became a part of the easter celebrations.
    The easter egg hunt part of it actually derives from the change of hunter gathering to farming, which is what many people had to do in the winter in the neolithic times due to there not being many crops that could be grown in winter and not enough to support a family well, so everyone celebrated the fact that they could go back to farming again.
    So...if you wonder why we have all this chocolate egg buisness and bunny rabbit celebrations, you now know why the whole thing came about .

    b. I loved summer time as a kid, not only because of the school holidays, but also because of all the fruits my mum used to grow in her gardens. Strawberrys, apples, red currents, plums and tomatoes were realy nice to eat just laying back in the grass staring at the blue sky.
    We also used to get alot of bamtam chicks(bamtams are basically a type of dwarf chicken, very small and much older type of chicken than the types we use today in farming) at this time of year which were very cute and i used to spend alot of my time caring for them and their mothers, i realy looked forward to the chicks hatching every year and i used to spend alot of my time helping deliver chicks as a kid .
    The deer herds would also be delivering their first fawns at this time of year and would come down from the woodlands to graze in saftey in the paddocks and feilds.

    c. Autum was one of my favorite times of year and is my most fav now, but one of the reasons why i liked it so much as a kid was because of all the black berrys/currents and rasborys, i used to take the dogs for longs walks with m brother and collect all the blackberrys and rasborys in the hedges with my brother and take them home so my mum could make them into jam.
    During this time the farm was at its most busy- harvesting time. Throughout the entire day all you'd hear were the combine harvestors, tractors and lorrys come in and out of the farm and feilds delivering the wheat and other crops like rapeseed to be prepared and processed and sorted out into catagorys- human comsumption, animal consumption and for the rapeseed, turned primarily into oil for machines but also somtimes made into animal cereals.

    I loved autum also because of all the nut and fruit producing trees- we would often go walnut, chesnut and cherry , plum and apple picking(mainly crab and cooking apples though, taste nasty eaten raw ) and also everybody would be playing conkers at school. The woodlands on the farm were beautiful during this time, a picture of golds, yellows, shades of browns and lime greens.

    We also help the pheasant hunt at this time of year which was a realy big thing when my dad was alive, we would have a big party back at the main house almost every week with lots of drinking, storys and roasted foods and rich deserts. I loved the pheasant hunt as a kid because i love eating pheasant itself, so there would be alot of that about after the pheasant hunt, and also because of all the partys and food. The dogs enjoyed it too because they were trained to retrieve the pheasants back after they had shot and also happened to get rather fat from eating the odd pheasant or 2 every now and then.
    My parents would also hold a big traditional get-together lunch for all the farm workers in a sort of thanks for their hard work and everyone would give presents to each other.
    We also spent many nights as a kid roasting sweet chesnuts over an open fire which tasted realy nice and we would eat lots of almounds and things.
    There was also halloween !

    d. Winter, for me as a kid, was an awesome time of year, as the valley in which the farm is situated snowed almost everytime each year. My brother and i loved playing in the snow building snowmen and playing snowball fights with each other . All the cows would be brought in at this time of year too much closer to the farm which was nice as they were very friendly and would let you stroke them if you got to get to know them by feeding them handfuls of grass.
    Me and my brother would also go up to the hills and go sledging on the snow which was cool. And of course, there was christmas which all the christmas pudding, chocolates, roast lunch, christmas tree and presents .

    Theres more, but thats pretty much the seasons for me as a kid, now i am an adult and do not live on the farm anymore, i still love the seasons but they don't effect me half as much in my life anymore.

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    Hullu RockLee's Avatar
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    One thing I REALLY hate is the sun in autumn, it's standing so damn low I can't see sh*t on the road, on top of that, when your windows are a tad dirty it's ZERO vision

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    As the Rush Comes Duo's Avatar
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    it's weird because it's a bit chill in the morning but then at 11 it gets to like 20 degrees

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    Robot/Ninja xerxes99's Avatar
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    When I went to college up in Missouri I really felt the seasons, especially spring, seeing everyone shed their winter coats. But now that I'm back in Florida the only difference is that it rains less in the winter than the summer.
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    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockLee
    One thing I REALLY hate is the sun in autumn, it's standing so damn low I can't see sh*t on the road, on top of that, when your windows are a tad dirty it's ZERO vision
    http://tinyurl.com/exdfk

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    tsuyaku o tsukete kudasai nurizeko's Avatar
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    Its hard to tell seasons where i live now....in the middle of october when i first came to live in my current city there was the deepest snow ive ever seen on the ground, this year, it only recently started getting cooler and a bit wetter.

  17. #17
    Hullu RockLee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikecash
    haha, smartass

  18. #18
    As the Rush Comes Duo's Avatar
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    funny, i was thinking the exact thing, and that goes for both replies ;)

  19. #19
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikecash
    I have heard that many Japanese consider the first time in the year they hear the うぐいす (bird) sing to mark the beginning of spring.
    French speakers usually consider the first time they see swallows *a migratory bird as well) as the beginning of spring. Interestingly, the French proverb has it that "One swallows does not make spring", while the English one is "One swallow does not make a summer". That's probably because England is north of France and it takes the bird a bit longer to reach it in their migration. I wonder if such differences in sayings exist between Southern and Northern Japan.

  20. #20
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockLee
    Winter isn't that much as there is hardly to no snow
    It depends where. In the Ardennes it (much) snows more than in Flanders, although it's just 100 km away.

  21. #21
    Government Man Doc's Avatar
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    There are seasons? I never heard of those! Oh wait a minute yes I have, it's just that my balls can't take it where I live. First you have Spring, it's warm, then it's cold. It's warm, and then it's cold. It's warm, and then it's cold all the while the trees and flowers are still budding. Then there's summer, where it's hot, and then it gets hotter. Humidity sucks ***. Then it's fall where it gets warm and then cold. Warm and then cold, all the while everything is dying. Then it's winter where it can be cold, or colder depending on the summers. I HATE LIVING IN THE MIDWEST!!!

    Doc
    "Rather than offer you the illusion of free choice, I will take the liberty of choosing for you... if and when your time comes round again. I do apologize for what must seem to you an arbitrary imposition, Dr. Freeman. I trust it will all make sense to you in the course of... well... I'm really not at liberty to say. In the meantime... this is where I get off." -G-man

  22. #22
    As the Rush Comes Duo's Avatar
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    I'd say that Brussels got its fair amount of snow last winter... at one point in just 5 minutes the sky became literally white with huge flakes and city got all covered up.. 20 min later it was all finished

  23. #23
    Regular Member misa.j's Avatar
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    Northen New York where I live has more distictive changes of the seasons than where I grew up in Japan.
    I usually notice from the smell of firewood and leaves on the ground when the fall comes.
    Winter here starts so brutally and stays cold for so long.

    I just have bad memories of being smacked by the wicked wind of February while I was playing outside in the yard when I was a child.

  24. #24
    Your Goddess is here Ma Cherie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc
    There are seasons? I never heard of those! Oh wait a minute yes I have, it's just that my balls can't take it where I live. First you have Spring, it's warm, then it's cold. It's warm, and then it's cold. It's warm, and then it's cold all the while the trees and flowers are still budding. Then there's summer, where it's hot, and then it gets hotter. Humidity sucks ***. Then it's fall where it gets warm and then cold. Warm and then cold, all the while everything is dying. Then it's winter where it can be cold, or colder depending on the summers. I HATE LIVING IN THE MIDWEST!!!

    Doc
    You're telling me, I don't understand the weather in the Midwest. I swear, just several days ago it still felt like summer. I remember some years ago when it snowed it in October. And there isn't supposed to be any snow in October. It's really strange, it's like the cycle is all out of whack.

  25. #25
    Angelic Fruitcake pinkkillerkisou's Avatar
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    Seasons sound like so much fun...

    I live in New Orleans. It is always summer. Except for the very end of December (if your lucky) and January and February are pretty cold. But cold to us is not the same cold as you are all used to I'm sure.

    I need to get out more and see these so called seasons.

    Oh... and as far as "feeling" the seasons. I have arthritis and a sickness thats makes me have equilibrium issues. Even the slightest weather change affects me. I feel it. It doesn't feel good folks. (I feel like I'm so old )

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