Puppet Ponyo and red leaves in Tokyo this past November :)
Puppet Ponyo and orangey-red leaves in Nagano in May!
There are many people who go to the Land of the Rising Sun in the fall expressly for its koyo season. And the colorful autumn leaves are a pretty big deal among the Japanese too, with such as autumn color guides and reports being issued so that people know where are ideal locales to visit and what's the optimal time to do so.
Especially upon seeing that some of the leaves are redder than Puppet Ponyo (who's noticeably pinker than her plushie sisters and how the feisty character's depicted in Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea), I can understand some of the koyo passion, even mania. And then there's their transient nature, which makes catching sight of these natural things of beauty feel even more precious than they'd otherwise be.
Especially when in Hakone last month, I really did appreciate how it is to be able to gaze at vast swathes of colorful fall foliage. And seeing photos of such places as Shodoshima's Kankakei Gorge and Kyoto's Kiyamizudera in their autumn glory makes me want to re-visit those places when the koyo season's at its peak in those locales.
At the same time though, there's something to be said for seeing a red-leafed tree out of season and among ones sporting the expected green leaves -- an experience that I actually had when strolling around the grounds of Nagano's magnificent Zenkoji this past May. As evidence, I hereby furnish (at the top of this blog post) a snapshot of Puppet Ponyo posing amidst those bright orangey-red leaves. And I don't know about you but she seems to me to be smiling a bit more in that photo than the one I took of her in Tokyo this fall! ;)