Transitioning from one season to another

Fuden-An: Leaves from a Tea-Journal

Transitioning from one season to another [Jun 2018]

KOBORI Sojitsu (the 13th Grand Master of the Enshu Sado School )

Summer arrived in the blink of an eye. Temperatures of more than 25 degrees persisted for several days in a row in March and April, which can be quite a burden on one’s health. There were also several days where the temperatures suddenly dropped, making it more difficult to adjust. The Japanese expression "a pleasant temperature" is dear to us, but is heard less frequently as the days go by.

I think this kind of climate change has a great impact on world trends. It seems that everything we see in the news about politics, economics, entertainment and sports is mostly based on a duality of black or white, good or evil, right or wrong, win or lose, yes or no.

When I was young, I once stayed with a family abroad. I often had the opportunity to discuss the difference between Japanese and European cultures with the members of the host family and my classmates from the school I attended. Through these exchanges, I noticed that different opinions arose from religious and racial differences.

I believe that changes in weather, climate and the seasons are key factors in explaining this difference. In my opinion, people who live in regions where the diurnal range (the difference between daily maximum and minimum temperatures) is large have very clear positions on issues. On the other hand, people who live in regions like Japan which have four distinct seasons tend to be happy with being vague. Take Japan in the past as an example - there used to be transition days between the two seasons and this allowed us to create words such as "utsuroi" to refer to this seasonal transition. There also used to be many words in the Japanese language which were somewhat vague and had various interpretations.

Whereas in Japan today, as I mentioned earlier, things are becoming polarized between black and white, superior and inferior, and left and right. I believe this has resulted from the growing trend to normalize globalization and dramatic changes in the climate. There are certain truths which must never, under any circumstance, be distorted. But putting these truths to good use will require people to be mentally prepared. Grasping the important things in life is what I believe to be important for Japanese people today.