The Death of Summer – A Japanese Memory (懐かしい)

You are aged 10. It is the end of August, and hot. You are mucking about with a couple of friends, just hanging out, lying in the grass. School is long gone; but also right around the corner. Everything feels just good, not a care in the world. With your besties, nothing to do. And hot.

10, 20, 30, 40 years later, you can still feel that feeling, of complete calm and perfection, the setting sun washing over over everything.


There is a wonderfully light, happy word in Japanese, natsukashi – 懐かしい

“Oh, do you remember when we played that game of football in the monsoon?!”
“Ah, natsukashi yo!”

“OMG, look at that photo of us at the conference, the first day we met! So young…” “Natsukashi ne!” “Happy days!”

I lived in Japan 20 years ago. Until today, I thought the literal meaning of natsukashi was “memories of summer” because that was how it was translated to me once, and it made perfect sense. Just perfect.

Today I discovered that the etymology is not from natsu (summer), but natsuku, “to get used to and keep close; to become fond of”; and has become to mean fond reminiscences. Still perfect.

Hmmm, but if natsu also means summer, what does kashi literally mean? Well, take your pick, could be anything from death to defect to asphyxiation

The death of summer, halcyon days, weeks of nothing but time and friends and sun…coming to an end, before school returns. Natsukashi. Sounds just perfect to me.

Many fond memories this week, of people and events and impacts on my life. Times that ended or morphed into new eras and opportunities.

Feeling blessed for those people and opportunities in my life.

←This Much We Know.→

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