Weekly Words no. 4: Happy Spring, mina-san!

March 23, 2018


Well what do you know, the equinox has come and gone and it's springtime once again!  (Although, here in New England it doesn't feel like spring just yet, but it will soon I hope!) 


Growing up in Vermont, spring always meant muddy roads and maple syrup.  But in Japan, it's all about the cherry blossoms!  Everyone gets to participate in hanami (flower viewing).


Each spring, friends and family get together to view the cherry trees as their petals fall in the spring breeze.  Bento lunches are prepared for a picnic-style meal.  One of the most famous foods from the event are sanshoku dango.  These sanshoku dango are served on a skewer and (as their kanji would suggest) are made with three colors.  A green one to represent the new plant growth of spring, a white one to represent the snow that is melting away, and a pink one to represent (of course) the cherry blossoms.


I must admit, I have not been in Japan during spring.  I always feel a bit melancholy about not being there for it each year.  Oh, I can't wait until I get to experience hanami myself! 


•  花見    Flower Viewing Written in hiragana as はなみ


ex.  公園にお花見しに行きませんか。

       Kouen ni ohanami shini ikimasen ka.

       Shall we go to the park to watch the cherry blossoms?



桜の木  Cherry Tree Written in hiragana as さくらのき


ex.  学生たちは桜の木の近くにきょうかしょを読む。
       Gakuseitachi wa sakura no ki no chikaku ni kyoukashyo wo yomu.

       The students read textbooks near a sakura tree.



花びら  Flower Petal Written in hiragana as はなびら


ex.  娘は花びらの絵を書きました。
       Musume wa hanabira no e o kakimashita.

       My daughter drew a picture of flower petals.



• 三色団子  Tricolored, Sweet Rice Dumplings; Dango  

Written in hiragana as さんしょくだんご 


ex.  今日は三色団子を作るの?

       Kyou wa sanshoku dango wo tsukuru no? 

      Did you make tricolored dango today?



• 風  Wind, breeze   Written in kanji as かぜ


ex.  あぁ、風は涼しいね!
       Aa, kaze wa suzushii ne!

       Ah, this wind feels cool, doesn't it?

What kinds of things does your community do in spring?  Please share in the comments!





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