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This years kanji

12 Dec

Every December a 漢字 (Japanese kanji character) is chosen in Japan that best summarizes the year that is ending…and it becomes the official 「今年の漢字」 (“Kanji of the Year”) in a ceremony in Kyoto with the temple monk writing the character in calligraphy brushstrokes on a large board.

The 2011 Kanji of the Year is 「絆」 ("Bond").

The official character for 2011 was announced today. It’s 「絆」 (Kizuna)…which means “(to) bond“.

This was chosen because of the way the people of Japan and the world came together to help the victims of the March 11 earthquake.

(Last year (2010), the Kanji of the Year meant “hot”. Click here to find out why.)

The Earth “ate” the moon

12 Dec

On Saturday (2011 December 10th), many parts of the world, including Japan, could see a 月食 (full lunar eclipse).

A lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, earth and moon are all aligned in a straight line causing the moon to be completely hidden by the shadow cast by the earth.

In Japanese, it’s called 「月食」 (“Gesshoku“). The written characters could be literally translated to “Eaten moon” (hence my title for this post).

Before the moon was completely covered in the earth's shadow, some of the sun's reflected light caused the moon to appear red. (The picture was taken in Tokyo).

This photo shows the earth's shadow beginning to cover the moon. (Tokyo Tower is in the foreground).

Were you able to see the lunar eclipse where you live?

(The two photos in this post were found on Google Images. My camera’s not powerful enough to take such close-up shots of the moon.)