Koyo: Colourful Autumn Leaves

Last year at this time I prepared for a month of travel during the height of koyo in Japan. Last Saturday, looking for the next best thing a little closer to home, I strolled under the autumnal canopy in Nitobe Memorial Garden behind the Asian Centre at UBC.

Japan’s sun often rises or sets a brilliant, almost stop-light red; whereas, Vancouver sees a muted version. Similarly the West Coast water-colour palette dilutes Japan’s more vibrant koyo tones. All the same, they hold an ineffable charm here as well. Transience is transience whatever its hue.

However, observation and memory are tricksters. While my eyes see Nitobe’s show as a restrained echo of its Japanese counterparts, the digital lens says otherwise. That brings me to a fundamental truth underpinning my travel experiences.

I understand: What I witness and comprehend is not necessarily what I perceive it to be.

A Gate in Nanzenji, Kyoto

Outside Nitobe Gate

Rengeji Pond, Kyoto

Nitobe Pond

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