Since I’ve moved to Japan, September has become a very strange month for me. I have a big image clash between American September and Japanese September. In America, September is the beginning of new things. The new school year is starting; the weather is getting cooler; a new season of sports is starting. September just feels like a much needed change, a good energy kick to cut the monotony of the year that has started to drag. Japan, on the other hand, doesn’t feel the influence of September half as strongly.
The biggest difference between the two is the school year. Japan starts their school year in April, so right away September loses much of its appeal. Though all Japanese students have a summer vacation, they don’t have the big three monther that Americans do, so it doesn’t feel like a significant change to go back to school after summer vacation.
As for the weather, in Nagoya at least, September is just a continuation of summer. It’s still hot and sunny most days. Sometimes the nights get cooler, but it really just depends on the day. The leaves don’t change color until October and November.
And sports? Yeah, right. Again, the school year has a big effect on sports. In high school and college, sports are actually clubs that you join, so there are no seasons for sports. They’re year-round activities. Of course, there’s a peak season for games, but you only really feel that influence in baseball, Japan’s big pro sport. As for basketball, football, and soccer- of course there are pro teams in Japan, but their popularity is very limited. There’s no frenzy as the nation gets ready for the start of the football season every fall. Not that I can complain about that one, not being a big football fan myself. But it does make a big difference in general feeling when the entire country only gears up once a year for only one sport.
So, September has become a strange month for me. It used to fly by back when I lived in America. Now, September has just become another ordinary month, where the days just drag by without any great break in the schedule. Even though it is the last week of the month, it feels a lot longer than one month has passed since my birthday.