On rushes winter. Fall is briskly swept away by the bone-chilling winds, along with the floating leaves that are every possible shade from primary yellow to a red that's so deep you'd swear it was purple. Mornings become a multi-staged battle between the snooze button, the desire to stay swaddled three layers deep in feather doonas and the necessity of time enough to have both a shower and make coffee (one of these occasionally gets skipped. it's a bad day for all concerned when both of these are beaten by snoozing and coccooning). Blankets are frequently retrieved in the middle of the night after waking up freezing and tensed into a small tight ball. The fickle seasonal love affair with the kotatsu is reignited. It is soon to be usurped by the hotter love that burns for the kerosene heater and its stupifying aromatics of burnt fossil fuels.
With kotatsu heaters and blankets and hibernation comes the immediate, rightnow need to be away from your own company and cosiness. And because I am generally an unorganised creature when left to my own devices, I do things like leave myself all of 10 minutes to get to the Australian consulate in Osaka to hand in my postal vote*, which means that generally I am forgetting things whilst pulling on more layers and a scarf and shoes and throwing myself out the door to get to the train.
And so convinced that I become that I've left my kotatsu heater on, and that it's more important for me to vote in this first federal election that I actually understand (for Lord knows, I can't berate my father for his political views if I can't even manage to vote), that somehow Nick ends up being lucky enough (lucky lucky Nick) to recieve a text message asking him to break into my house and prevent the impending house annihilation.
Yet the kotatsu's not on. And I miss getting to Osaka in time to vote.
My paper house didn't burn down. The party that I would have voted for won the election with the biggest swing of voters ever seen in Australia's political history. And the 2 1/2 hours that I spent on the train to get to a friend's birthday party went through the mountains with all their patchwork of fall leaves and late afternoon sunshine and long shadows.
*because apparently applying for a postal vote isn't enough. How ridiculous is it that you then have to physically hand in said postal vote to the Australian Consulate instead of just posting it yourself?