Midsummer in Japan - 日本、夏真っ盛り

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The rainy season is over and we are getting deeper into August. It’s officially midsummer and the first thing I talk about with my students when I meet them is how hot and humid it is.


The Obon holidays are coming soon and our English schools will be closed for the summer holidays.  Do you like the Obon holidays? Do you go back to your hometown? Personally Obon is my second favourite holiday after Christmas and I know I’m not Japanese or a Buddhist (well I’m not Christian either) but I find that there is something so comforting in the idea of your ancestors spirits coming back to the living world to spend 3 days with you every year. It makes the loss of your loved ones a tiny bit more bearable than it would otherwise be.


Now for today, I have picked some words and expressions that are useful when talking about the Japanese summer.


Rainy season 梅雨

It’s scorching hot! うだるように暑い!

It’s really humid, today! ほんとに蒸し暑いね、今日は!

The heat is unbearable! 暑すぎてどうかなりそう!(暑くて我慢できない!)

cicada せみ

I love the sound of cicadas! せみの鳴き声が大好き!

Shaved ice かき氷

Firework display 花火大会

Did you go to the firework display in Ohori on Aug 1st? 8月1日の大濠花火大会に行きましたか?

Have a barbeque バーベキューをする

Go camping キャンプに行く

Ancestors 先祖

A spirit 魂

In Obon our ancestors’ spirits come back to visit us. お盆には、先祖の魂が私達に会いに戻ってきます。

A tomb お墓、墓石

Clean my ancestors’ tomb 先祖の墓掃除をする

Hold a Buddhist ceremony 法事を営む

Go back to my hometown 帰省する、里帰りする

Visit my grandparents’ house 祖父母の家を訪ねる

Meet my relatives 親戚に会う

How are you going to spend Obon this summer? I hope you have a wonderful time.