Long shadows, especially in winter, are one of the most often overlooked treats of living in a mid-latitude country. I suppose if one isn't the slightest bit interested in photography then it doesn't matter, but if one likes to take photos... winter is best.
In Japan, this truly is the season for photography. The air, especially in the morning, is crisp and dry (unless it's been raining). In summer, the sun ascends too quickly and has too much strength to have any decent artistic merit. Photos taken between 10am and 3pm in the summer are lacking contrast, shadows are directly beneath objects, and it's simply too damn hot anyway.
Shadows are very interesting to me, just as is the 'colour' black. Man-made blacks, as with blacks in nature, are never truly black. Nothing is black, other than the complete absence of light, which is what a shadow is trying to be. The Japanese word for shadow is 陰 which is pronounced "kah-geh". Its romanisation however, is "kage". I'll never forget this word, as when I was younger I played Sega's Virtua Fighter, in which there is a character named "kage" (which I know now is Shadow). He was a ninja. It all makes sense. However, I read his name as "cage". I had similar troubles with the famous Street Fighter character "Ryu", whom I called "Rhy-ew", not "ri-u" as I (more closely) should have. I had no idea how words were pronounced in Japanese - Japan was an almost fictitious place of samurai and bullet trains.
Words, names, and other Japanese influences from my youth will always stay in my mind. The longer I live in Japan, the wider the schism grows between what I once thought, and what I now know. This works on all levels, but is most easily communicated using simple examples of wordage, as that above.