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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Japan Series at JapanesePod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Japanese holidays and observances. I’m Becky, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 10- Cherry Blossom Viewing
花見 (Hanami) is a custom unique to Japan in which we view cherry blossoms and celebrate the coming of spring. Cherry blossoms bloom across Japan, starting in Kyushu in late March, and then gradually move north until they bloom in Hokkaido in early May. Cherry blossoms can only be enjoyed for a short period of time, as they fall off just two weeks after blooming. Cherry blossoms are an incredibly important flower to the Japanese, and since ancient times they have had a great impact on the Japanese appreciation of the changing seasons, as well as its aesthetic sense.
Now, before we go any further, do you know the answer to this question- which famous person from the 16th century Azuchi-Momoyama era held the most magnificent cherry blossom viewing?
If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
It’s customary at cherry blossom viewings to eat a special boxed lunch, drink alcohol, and chat with one's friends while enjoying the cherry blossoms. In more than half the regions of Japan, the cherry blossom viewing period is in April, coinciding with the beginning of a new school and fiscal year Japan. Therefore, cherry blossom-viewings are often held during welcome parties for new students and employees. Looking at the pale pink of the cherry blossoms shine in the blue sky while enjoying the warm spring breeze and tucking into a tasty lunch is part of the fun of spring.
Because so many people enjoy the tradition of cherry blossom viewing, preparing for it in advance is essential. Staking out a good spot to see the cherry blossoms and laying out a plastic sheet, which is called 場所取り(bashotori), are important steps of the preparation. On the day itself, people bring food and drink and gather together at the place they reserved. While enjoying the cherry blossoms, they excitedly chat, sing karaoke, and have fun.
Cherry blossom viewing doesn't only take place in the daytime. There is also what is known as "nighttime cherry blossom viewing." Parks and temples—well-known places for cherry blossom viewing—often put up lights so that people can come and enjoy the cherry blossoms at night. Many groups gather and hold parties under the nighttime cherry blossoms. As darkness falls, cherry blossoms have a quite different appearance compared to the daytime.
Here’s our fun fact for the day! Did you know that 花見 (hanami) rice dumplings are a symbol of cherry blossom viewing? Three dumplings, which are two to three centimeters in diameter and of different colors, are skewered together. The pink dumpling at the top represents the cherry blossoms, the white one in the middle represents snow, and the green one at the bottom represents the mugwort plant.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question- who held a magnificent viewing party?
The correct answer is 豊臣秀吉 (Hideyoshi Toyotomi). He held a magnificent cherry blossom viewing party in 醍醐寺 (Daigo-ji), a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, that was attended by his wife, son, feudal lords, and subordinates. This grand occasion, known as the Daigo Cherry blossom Viewing, is a famous historical event. Because of this, 豊太閤花見行列 (Hōtaikō Hanami Gyōretsu), meaning “Hanami Parade”) is held at 醍醐寺 (Daigo-ji) on the second Sunday of April each year.
Well listeners, how was this lesson?
Did you learn something new?
In your country, do you have flower viewing parties? Are there any interesting customs involved?
Please leave us a comment telling us at JapanesePod101.com.
And we’ll see you next time!

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JapanesePod101.com
Tuesday at 6:30 pm
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In your country, do you have flower viewing parties? Are there any interesting customs involved?

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JapanesePod101.com
October 22nd, 2018 at 6:20 pm
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Hi Santiago Gaviria García,


Thank you very much for posting!

Wow, I didn't know there's such a wonderful fair in Colombia!

I'd love to see it!! Thank you for your information.


Keep studying with JapanesePod101.com!


Cheers,

Miho

Team JapanesePod101.com

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Santiago Gaviria García
August 2nd, 2018 at 11:51 am
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From the last week of July to the first week of august,Medellin blossoms with one of the most beautiful fairs in Colombia. It is called the "Flowers Fair". This fair brings all the tradition from Antioquia's prefecture displayed in events from concerts to the well known parades of antique cars and "silleteros".


Silleteros parade is the main event of the fair. On this parade, ancient flower grower families from Antioquia showcase its "silletas", which are a representation of the ancient flower carrying form from the colony period of Colombia. They display massive types of flowers, orchids and also creates drawings and text using just flowers of all colors.

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JapanesePod101.com
February 13th, 2018 at 11:55 pm
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Hi Merly,


Thank you for the comment and sharing your culture!


Miki H

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Merly
January 8th, 2018 at 9:45 pm
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Konnichiwa

In the Philippines we have flower festival in Baguio City every February.

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JapanesePod101.com
August 10th, 2015 at 11:26 pm
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Edwin san,

Konnichiwa.

あづちももやまじだい is correct because the kanji writing is 安土桃山時代.

:smile:

Yuki 由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com

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Edwin
August 6th, 2015 at 9:12 am
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is Azuchi–Momoyama period spelled あずちももやまじだい and not あづちももやまじだい.

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JapanesePod101.com
February 3rd, 2015 at 5:50 pm
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Kellyさん


そうですか。おもしろいですね。(Really? That is interesting.) Thanks for sharing! :smile:


Have a great day!

Erica

Team JapanesePod101.com

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Kelly
February 2nd, 2015 at 10:31 am
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For more than five decades in the town of Aibonito is celebrated "The Festival of Flowers" where all visitors are delighted to always find the greatest variety of exotic flowers and tropical plants in Puerto Rico.