Every year we take a little trip up to Gifu to see the Autumn Leaves in Yoro Park. This event seems to hold a special significance for me, because it always seems to take place at a critical point of the year, where I’m asking myself a lot of questions, when I have a lot of important decisions to make or I’m having to come to terms with a big change in my life.
This year is no different, as Small World is undoubtedly going to go through some big changes in 2023, and although I’m excited, I can’t help but feel a little nervous. Autumn Leaves always has a way of bringing me back down to earth, reminds me of where we came from, and why Small World exists.
Autumn Leaves is a nicely rounded day trip that takes you out of the city and into the nature to experience one of Japan’s seasonal wonders, koyo, when the trees turn to bright reds and greens for about a week. There’s a limited window, so we were very lucky to catch it just before the leaves fell from the trees. It’s a quick trip – we leave at 09:00 and we’re back by 17:00, but in that time we’ve taken a trip to the next prefecture, had a picnic in the park, done a quick hike, a visit to a famous waterfall, eaten a variety of Japanese sweets and snacks, and taken hundreds of photos. It’s everything that’s great about Japanese field trips in a little nutshell.
You’ve also spent the day with a real mix of Worldies who participate in all kinds of different events. Some from other hikes we’ve hosted, some from Trivia, a handful from The International Party. It’s a great event to spend some quality time with friends you’ve met in other places, or get to know some new ones who you’ve seen at other events, but never had a chance to talk to. Some are even completely new to the group, and this was their first opportunity to make friends since they’ve arrived in Japan.
Every time we host this event it’s a completely different lineup of people. An undeniable truth of living in a foreign country is knowing that the people around you will one day disappear, but it is also a true that others will come to take their place. That’s why we’re here! To make these transitions easier, to create new connections! To support the community, to foster strong friendships and and make sure that everyone can feel at home in a different country.
Thank you as always, and we hope that you join us in 2023 for the next Autumn Leaves!