April 2019

Kanji with Implicit Insights


The Japanese government revealed the name of the new nation’s era as “Reiwa (令和)” on April 1. The government says that the English translation of the new era name is “beautiful harmony.” This translation comes from the kanji characters instead of the sound, hiragana, or katakana. Kanji characters tell the meaning visually and instantly Kanji characters tell what the word means concisely. Taking an example of a book reading (読書): “Doku (読)” means reading, and “Sho (書)” means a book. “読書” is compact in writing, compared to the sentence: “本を読む.” You find that most Japanese have Kanji characters for their family and given names. Kanji characters for family names, including […]

Seasonal Cues and Our Senses


Blooming Sakura tells us that spring is coming. The cherry blossom front (桜前線, “Sakura Zensen”) moves across Japan from the south to the north, from February to May. You may enjoy viewing the full blossoms of Sakura at the end of March in Tokyo. If you travel to the Tohoku and Hokkaido areas in late April to early May, you will enjoy viewing Sakura again. The cherry blossoms (Sakura) are the spring specialty. They show us the light pink of gorgeous flowers only a few days a year. When the cherry petals are fallen, we feel that the climate gets warmer. Iconic Things in Different Seasons Japan has four distinct […]

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