Japanese Sayings about Autumn (秋, aki)

Published October 20th, 2015

Every culture has many different sayings that don’t always make sense when translated. Think about, “It’s raining cats and dogs!” Or, “This dinner costs an arm and a leg!” Japanese is no exception. Here we’ve put together a collection of Japanese sayings and proverbs that all talk about autumn. Some use it literally, while others have figurative meanings. Have you come across any of these before?

Aki no ougi

It is the time when summer warmth is completely gone from the air so grab your coat and put that fan away! 秋の扇 (aki no ougi) The autumn fan is no longer needed.

On’na gokoro to aki no sora

Autumn weather can be very unpredictable. One day it feels like summer and the next the blustering winds require a coat and scarf. Obviously, this is just like a woman who changes her mind at the drop of a hat! 女心と秋の空 (on'na gokoro to aki no sora): A woman's mind and autumn sky change often.

Akinasu wa yome ni kuwasuna

Basically this is used to mean don’t let yourself be taken advantage of. But there is also an alternative meaning to this which is that eating eggplants makes your body “cold,” which is not good for expectant mothers. So in this interpretation the mother-in-law is actually protecting her daughter-in-law! 秋茄子は嫁に食わすな (Akinasu wa yome ni kuwasuna) Don't let your daughter-in-law eat your autumn eggplants

Ichijitsu sansyuu or Ichijitsu sensyu

You can also say, “一日千秋” which is the same except one day seems like a thousand autumns! Since autumn only comes once a year, it feels like a thousand years! Either way, if you’re being impatient it will make your waiting feel much longer than it has to be. Similar in English to, “A watched pot never boils.” 一日千秋 Ichijitsu sansyuu or Ichijitsu sensyu

Akikaze ga tatsu

This saying is used not to actually talk about autumn winds, but to talk about affection. If you say this about your girlfriend or boyfriend, it means that their feelings for you are waning and their love has “cooled” towards you. 秋風が立つ(akikaze ga tatsu): The autumn wind begins to blow.

Mono ieba kuchibiru samushi aki no kaze

This one may sound strange but it’s basically saying, “Think before you speak.” Or also, “Silence is golden.” Or in the most simple terms, “Keep your mouth shut!” 物言えば唇寒し秋の風(mono ieba kuchibiru samushi aki no kaze): When you open your mouth in autumn, the chilly wind makes your lips cold.

Ichiyou ochite tenka no aki wo shiru

This may sound obvious, of course when the leaves fall autumn has come! But it’s really used to talk about something that identifies something else. Maybe your girlfriend not calling you back shows that she is mad at you. See the obvious thing in front of you. “A falling straw shows which way the wind blows.” 一葉落ちて天下の秋を知る (ichiyou ochite tenka no aki wo shiru): A falling leaf shows that autumn has come.

Do you know any more Japanese sayings about autumn? What about English expressions that talk about the seasons? Share them here!