"The falling leaves, sit by the window
The falling leaves, are red and gold......"
I don't know if I got that one right,
but that song speaks of one love lost, right?
Well, my memories of Autumn is one which makes my heart cry
not of sadness but one with tears of joy.
I had my first taste of Autumn a decade or so ago.
You see, I have always opted to go back 'home' in Inang Bayan
when the first sign of chilly winds begin to blow.
That time, I opted to stay and see most of Japan.
Those were the times when we had enough free time to travel
in most of HONSHU, the main island,
and KYUSHU, that 2nd bigger chunk of island south of Japan.
When Hiroko asked if I wanted to go to Aomori,
I didn't think twice. I just grabbed that opportunity
and said 'Yes!'
I didn't regret that.
Oh, no...not one bit!
We started late one October day.
We first travelled via the highway.
But the best view comes from the ordinary inner roads.
We stopped at every place where great views could be had.
We travelled by car and enjoyed the places we passed through,
clicking at every oppotunity.
When we reached Aomori....
Yeah, that Aomori of the APPLES fame!
....we stopped at the Welcome Banner where
apple-decors [ but of course!] were displayed.
I must have my picture taken, I said.
If only to show Manila friends that I have, indeed,
gone to that place.
Not to brag, but to share that such a place really exist!
As Hiroko woved through the center of Aomori,
[I believe] H deliberately went to the hills,
where the apple orchards were.....
and stopped a while.
H said that we seemed lost, but later,
I realized H was just showing me those orchards!
It was dusk and no one seemed around.
We got down and started clicking pictures as if
there was no tomorrow.
Of course! I had the most!
I asked if I could just take one pick...
but H said no. We could always buy, but no picking please.
The apples seemed soooooo delicious,
Apples in Japan seemed to be well-taken cared of.
One by one, they are wrapped in protective paper
and turned so each one gets the proper sunshine
to make them sweeter.
Biotechnology here is well-known.
Apple growers don't just grow apples.
They nurture each one
until it reaches maturity.
Some apple variety here have honeys in them.
Don't ask me how they did it,
but they seem to be getting better and better each time.
When one cut open the apple,
one can see the slightly glossy concentrate
inside, by the core.....
and these make these apples taste better.
Known Gourmets here have only good words for them.
Nothing can beat freshly-picked apples.
Up to that time, I didn't like apples that much.
I was, and still am, a MIKAN[TANGERINE] addict.
But I have since included apples in my marketing list.
I guess we, in Pinas have been used to eating
"delicious Washington apples" [as labeled on the box]
and those small ones from China.
Apples here are totally different!
Worlds apart, so to speak.
On our way out of the city,
there were stalls and stalls that line the road.....
Parang naalala ko yung road papuntang Tagaytay!
Daming prutas dun, right?
These stalls had only apples and related products for sale.
And, would you believe?
A box costs 300 yen only!
I couldn't believe my eyes!
In supermarkets in my place,
each apple costs about 158-200 yen on ordinary off-season days.
But in-season sales, each costs about a hundred yen.
I wanted to buy more but settled to 2 boxes
which I gave away as pasalubongs to my friends and neighbors!
WE stayed at a local Japanese RYOKAN [INN]
and enjoyed the Spa and the deliecious food.
The next day, when we were heading for home,
we passed by the main road. It was then that
I saw those mountains for the first time.
They was a riot of colors:
red, golden yellow, reddish brown, orange....
Oh my goodness!
I couldn't help cry seeing what I saw!
And I thought those pictures I saw in Calendars brought by my Tatay
a long time ago was just that: a painting of sorts that was concocted by some painters.
Geez! Am I lucky to see such blessings from the 0ne above!
How great must God really be!
To make such wonderful things and give them to us!
I cried and cried.
It just wouldn't stop!
I felt so happy that time that the memories has remained etched
in my mind and heart forever!
We stopped by a Parking Area and took lots of pictures.
with those trees of varying colors
as the backdrop.
I was specially happy
since my birthmonth also falls in Autumn.
What a birthday gift that was!
Autumn became a favorite season....
and all there is to it.
And Thank, You, LORD
for a Beautiful World,
a beautiful Autumn
and those apples!