Japanese for all seasons

28 Dec

A new year is about to begin…in fact a new decade.
It’s almost 2010. I can’t believe how fast time flies…this coming year will be twenty years since I first came to Japan!

So, for the new year, I thought I’d mention a few common seasonal terms in the Japanese language.

— First, this time of year (late December), we say 「良いお年を」 (“Yoi-otoshi-o“). It means “Have a happy new year“.

— On New Years Eve, you can go to a temple in Japan and hear 「除夜の鐘」 (Joya-no-kane), which is a Buddhist traditional of ringing the temple bell by the monk 108 times for a good new year.

— In the first week or so of January, 「明けましておめでとうございます」 (“Akemashite-omedetou-gozaimasu“) is said…it means “Happy New Year“.

— Also in early January, people in Japan go to a shrine to wish for a good year. The first visit to a shrine in the new year is called 「初詣」 (“Hatsu-moude“).

— 「節分」 (Setsubun) is a tradition on February third of throwing beans to ward the home of evil. Click here to read my FAQ about this holiday.

— The first warm breeze of Spring is called 「春一番」 (“Haru-ichi-ban“).

— In late-March to early-April, Japanese people love 「花見」 (Hanami)…”Cherry-Blossom Viewing“.
Click here to see some photos and video that I took of Hanami in Tokyo last April.

— Around Golden Week time, 「新緑」 (Shin-ryoku) starts. Shin-ryoku is the new green foliage of spring.

June is Japan’s 「梅雨」 (Tsuyu), or “Rainy season“.

— It couldn’t be Summer in Japan without 「蝉時雨」 (Semi-shigure)…the chirping of Cicadas, and 「花火」 (Hanabi)…fireworks displays.

— The 「赤蜻蛉」 (Aka-tonbo), Red Dragonflies, can be seen in Autumn.

Autumn is known for both 「日本晴れ」 (“Nihon-bare“), “Blue Skies Over All of Japan“, and 「紅葉」 (Kouyou), Autumn foliage.
Click here to see the photos I took in a park last Autumn.

— In Winter, the leaves fall off of the trees…in Japanese, it’s called 「木枯らし」 (Kogarashi).

How many of these words did you already know?

4 Responses to “Japanese for all seasons”

  1. Miss Behaving December 30, 2009 at 7:41 pm #

    I’ll confess I knew them all, but like you , next year I’ll have been here 20 years. Congrats to us! YAY!.


    • tokyo5 December 30, 2009 at 11:21 pm #

      You came to Japan in 1990 too?
      It’s hard to believe that it’s already been twenty years!


  2. cuteandcurls December 30, 2009 at 8:33 am #

    There are only 3 words that I recognise here and the other rest are new to me.


    • tokyo5 December 30, 2009 at 11:28 am #

      Which three words did you know? And how did you learn them?


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