Recently, the summer humidity has given way to cooler temps, the leaves have begun to change colors, and it’s finally starting to feel like autumn. But before any of these things happened, we knew that fall was upon us when we started seeing seasonal foods arrive at our local supermarkets and convenient stores. The average Japanese supermarket is not able to maintain the year-round varieties of foods like enormous U.S. grocers can, so food seasonality becomes much more important here. Seasonal foods also have cultural and even religious significance, so foods are connected to seasons in a very profound way. I bet if you asked the average Japanese, they would have a hard time imagining a season going by without eating the prerequisite seasonal foods. Like the falling leaves, it's simply another indicator of the passing of time.
In addition to seasonal cuisine being offered in restaurants or cooked at home, Japanese snack makers have also gotten on board with the seasonal changes and produce chips, crackers, and chocolates in limited seasonal flavors. During the fall, you can enjoy your favorite treats in pumpkin, chestnut, and sweet potato. Japan often experiments with limited flavors, and it’s a regular occurrence to fall in love with a new flavor only to see it go away and never appear again. If a limited flavor is connected to the season, at least you can look forward to eating/drinking it once a year.
During autumn in Japan, there are also seasonal activities like mushroom hunting, picnicking beneath or just watching the changing leaves, and participating in fall festivals. Fall festivals can be large, regional events or small, neighborhood get-togethers. Most have religious significance, relating to the fall harvest or honoring the moon, but their contemporary goal is to bring local communities together. If you ever visit Japan in the fall, I highly recommend seeking out a fall festival, whether it be big or small, to have an experience usually only reserved for locals.
In honor of autumn, we want to show off a few of our fall colors at Fresh Stock. If your pencils and notebooks are looking a little dull, you can think about picking up some new office items in yellows, oranges and golds.
Benjamin Stock founded Fresh Stock in Kobe, Japan and now runs it in the U.S. along with his wife, Rebecca.