"Ume" is plum in Japanese. At the end of February the plum trees begin to blossom. It is a sign that the weather is getting warmer. The Japanese love to view flowers and so the blossoms bring lots of people to the park.
This is me holding a plum blossom in my left hand.
At the beginning of April the cherry blossoms come out. This is the Japanese favorite time of the year. Cherry blossoms are called "sakura" and cherry blossom viewing is called "hanami". The Japanese sit under the trees, have a picnic and enjoy the beautiful pink flowers. I will miss this season but my host showed me a picture from last year. Aren't the flowers breathtaking?
Hi Ainsley, On February 3, a few weeks before I arrived, Japan celebrated a festival called "Setsubun". Setsubun is a celebration to welcome spring (although spring weather does not come until the end of March). People throw roasted soybeans out the door or at a person wearing an ogre mask. Ogre in Japanese is "oni". When you throw the beans you are supposed to say: "Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!" This means, "Bad luck out, good luck in". By throwing the beans you are symbolically telling the bad luck to go away. To ensure good luck, it is customary to eat the number of beans of your age. Even though the festival has past, my host family and I celebrated Setsuban by throwing beans at an oni mask. You can see me throwing the beans below. Since I am 8, I ate 8 beans. Yummy! I will bring some beans and a mask home with me. If anyone wants to try to throw and/or eat beans I can lead the celebration!
Word of the day: arrigato (are-ee-ga-toe)= thank you Your friend, Flat Sarah
I just got back from a 3 day ski trip near Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji is 100km South-West of Tokyo. It is the highest mountain in Japan at 3,776.24 meters high. Mount Fuji is also a volcano. It last erupted in 1707. My host family tells me that it will erupt again some day.
The picture above is with me and Mount Fuji in the background. It was so cool to see.
My host family and I stayed in a traditional style Japanese room called a TATAMI ROOM. A tatami is a mat made out of rice straw. The entire floor is covered in these mats. I learned that the Japanese do not sleep in beds like we do. They sleep on the floor on mats called "futons'. Since most Japanese houses are so small, the living room and bedroom are the same room. During the day the futons are stored in a special closet and at night they are brought out to sleep on. The Japanese sit on the floor around a small table so there is no need for a couch.
In the picture below you can see me in a tatami room and then sitting on a pile of futons. (I felt like Princess and the Pea).
On my ski trip I learned my first Japanese word. I hope I can teach you some words too.
I arrived in Tokyo on February 19th, 2013. The flight from Calgary took 10 hours. I was pretty tired when I arrived and quickly learned what "jet lag" was. Can you believe that Japan is 16 hours ahead of your time in Rimbey?
I am staying 20km outside of Tokyo in an area called Fuchu. It is not nearly as busy as Tokyo, but still much busier than Rimbey.
Tokyo is the capital city of Japan and has about 13 million people living in the city. If you count the people in Tokyo and its surrounding area, there are 32 million people. That is the population of Canada!
Tokyo is about 2,000 square kilometers and has about 14,000 people living in each kilometer. I think Rimbey has about 200 people per square kilometer. I cannot believe how many people live here!
This is a picture of Tokyo. In the background you can see the famous Mount Fuji. I just got back from a ski trip near this famous volcano. I will tell you more about it in my next post.