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Lesson Transcript

Peter: Stop by our website japanesepod101.com for all the latest and greatest features, line by line audio, iPod on the go plus much more. Stop by and see what’s going on at japanesepod101.com
Sakura: おはよう、東京。第九回 日本文化レッスンでございます。さくらです。
Peter: Peter here and we are back with another Japanese culture class lesson. As always, we are brought to you by Erklaren, the translation and interpretation specialists. Okay hello everybody.
Sakura: Hello everybody.
Peter: I am here with Sakura.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: And it is such a pleasure to do these classes with you. On our website japanesepod101.com, you can find the accompanying PDF. Inside the PDF, there will be pictures taken by Sakura.
Sakura: No, no.
Peter: And you said you would go this weekend.
Sakura: No, I haven’t said anything like that.
Peter: There are pictures, more information on the subject we talk about plus for those very interested in Japanese, we have a kanji close up of this episode. Now this is very nice because you could see the kanji, the Chinese characters behind the meaning of the words we talk about today.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: I think that it would be very, very beneficial.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: So stop by japanesepod101.com, get the PDFs and be sure to leave us a post.
Sakura: Right.

Lesson focus

Peter: Okay so Sakura, what is up for today?
Sakura: Today, え~花見。
Peter: Flower viewing or taking in the flowers, enjoying the flowers.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Oh and I know you are talking about your name Sakura, Cherry Blossom.
Sakura: Ah but before that, we have another flower, do you know?
Peter: Another flower?
Sakura: Yes 梅。
Peter: One more time.
Sakura: 梅
Peter: What’s that?
Sakura: It’s plum.
Peter: Plum blossoms.
Sakura: Yes. So well, when we say 花見 we think of 桜 straightaway Cherry Blossoms but before that and we have this quiet 花見 season which is 梅
Peter: Yes. Now this is the point we wanted to get across today. As Sakura just said, when people say 花見 flower viewing and also associated with this is going out, eating under the trees, enjoying – taking in the holiday and enjoying the whole atmosphere but before the Sakura, there is her little sister 梅 and you can’t forget about her.
Sakura: Right.
Peter: They are very, very beautiful flowers.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: And yes this 花見 or flower viewing season is a bit more relaxed.
Sakura: Umm…
Peter: Than the Sakura season…
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Which tends to get a little wild.
Sakura: Yes one of the reason is that it’s still a bit cold in Japan for like you know drinking and eating outside like the Cherry Blossom 花見.
Peter: Yeah I think so. Right now, I think today it was even cold.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: But if you have the chance, definitely check out these flowers.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: So Sakura, can you tell us a little bit more about these flowers.
Sakura: You can find 梅 everywhere in Japan and there are places to see 梅 from North to South everywhere. There are famous places scattered….
Peter: Scattered…
Sakura: In Japan and the season is quite long. It starts from second half of January, late January.
Peter: Late January.
Sakura: And it continues until the beginning of May.
Peter: Even through the Cherry Blossom season.
Sakura: Right.
Peter: That I didn’t know.
Sakura: Like in Tohoku and Hokkaido, those northern places, it’s quite late.
Peter: Because they start a bit later.
Sakura: That’s right.
Peter: Wow! That’s very – very, very interesting.
Sakura: Yes and the appearance, the flowers are – okay while Cherry Blossoms are kind of magnificent. You know, the branches go out and the flowers are like mist you know.
Peter: And when they start to fall, it looks like it’s snowing.
Sakura: That’s right.
Peter: It is something to be taken in.
Sakura: Yes but 梅 is sort of you know, it looks more like quieter. I can’t really explain it but it’s smaller and pretty and smells nice and it just you know tells you that spring is coming.
Peter: Yeah so why don’t we think about it this way. It’s kind of like they are two sisters and Sakura is all dressed up in her dolce-gabbana strutting down the street, very easy to notice.
Sakura: Yeah right.
Peter: Draws the attention.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: You see her and its like wow!
Sakura: Right, right, right, right….
Peter: Whereas the 梅 is kind of the more you have to look deeper to discover the beauty. So you know, you meet her, you talk to her and then oh all of a sudden, you are more and more impressed.
Sakura: Right, yes.
Peter: Is it right? I don’t know…
Sakura: I think so and I think in Japan, older people tend to enjoy the 梅 season more than like younger people. The younger people like to go drinking for 花見 and you know, having a party but then 梅 is more like you know watching and you know, sitting on the bench and enjoying quietly and it’s a very Japanese kind of 花見 as well I think.
Peter: Yeah I think it’s a great point you have. We are going to talk about – obviously we will be talking about 花見 probably for a month…
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: Before it happens. Yes the two atmospheres are quite different. I lived in 水戸 for a while and there is a very famous park there.
Sakura: Yes very famous.
Peter: Very famous for 梅. What’s the name of it?
Sakura: 偕楽園
Peter: Yes one more time.
Sakura: 偕楽園
Peter: It’s very, very famous for 梅, one of the most famous places in Japan.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: By the way, hello 水戸. The atmosphere is much more tone down. People walking around, taking pictures.
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: Not so loud, just enjoying, smelling.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: It’s very, very interesting, very, very nice atmosphere.
Sakura: Yes I think so.
Peter: Yeah and as Sakura said, it’s a bit more reserved than the Sakura.
Sakura: Yes, yes.
Peter: Kind of atmosphere where yes people are actually sitting under the trees, drinking, eating, talking, having fun.
Sakura: Right but in very old days, 花見 used to refer to 梅 viewing instead of cherry in Japan.
Peter: Really?
Sakura: It’s long ago like…
Peter: But you used to refer to the plum blossoms, not the cherry blossom.
Sakura: And then the cherry took over.
Peter: Everybody loves the attention grabber!
Sakura: そうそうそう。 Yes. And so if you are going to look up something about where to see 梅, there are certain like keywords to look for.
Peter: Okay.
Sakura: And like you can look for 梅の名所
Peter: What does that mean?
Sakura: 梅 is plum blossoms right?
Peter: Aha!
Sakura: And の is possessive.
Peter: Yes.
Sakura: And 名所 is famous place or good place.
Peter: Ah the famous places for plum blossoms.
Sakura: Yes and also…
Peter: We can get something up on the site about that right?
Sakura: Maybe – yes Peter will do it. Okay and another key word is 観梅
Peter: And what’s this?
Sakura: かん is viewing and ばい is another way of saying 梅. So 観梅 is plum viewing.
Peter: Okay. So Sakura, when was the last time you went plum blossom viewing?
Sakura: Ah couple of years ago actually.
Peter: Sakura…
Sakura: Because this is very busy season for us Japanese. It’s the end of the fiscal year.
Peter: Ah fiscal, can you break that down?
Sakura: Fiscal year.
Peter: Yeah what does it mean in English?
Sakura: That’s in English you know 何言ってんの?
Peter: Sakura, you can’t use these advanced words with me.
Sakura: わかんない。
Peter: Ah Sakura!
Sakura: I never get your joke. Okay yeah.
Peter: We would like you to compare these lessons with the lessons in a year when I really get Sakura into my way of thinking. It’s just a matter of time Sakura.
Sakura: Right, I don’t know. Yeah so it’s – for many Japanese people, it’s the busiest time of the year.
Peter: Yeah.
Sakura: Until March, yes.
Peter: Yeah the end of March and April. That’s why probably Sakura is so popular because the year just ended.
Sakura: Maybe.
Peter: And the Sakura is blooming and everyone feels free.
Sakura: Yes I think so. I think that is a big reason, yes. Good point Peter.
Peter: Thank you Sakura.
Sakura: Okay I want to introduce some things related to 梅. Is that okay? Do we have time?
Peter: Please go ahead Sakura.
Sakura: Okay one is 梅酒。
Peter: You are little too happy when you said this Sakura.
Sakura: It’s called plum wine or plum リキュール。リキュール?
Peter: Yeah liquor.
Sakura: Yes because it’s sweet and it’s – I think it’s more like liquor, isn’t it? 梅酒。
Peter: Umm yes I think so. I agree with you Sakura because I don’t know.
Sakura: Oh! Really?
Peter: Yes.
Sakura: It’s very popular in Japan and I think some people make it at home.
Peter: Make it at home?
Sakura: Yes, yes. We have one at home as well. We make it in plum season. It’s in June.
Peter: Aha!
Sakura: And shops sell bags of green plums and also white liquor, clear liquor and then also 氷砂糖. It’s like sugar but it’s like crystals you know.
Peter: Crystallized sugar?
Sakura: Yes, yes 氷砂糖 and you put them together and leave it for months and then it becomes lovely 梅酒。
Peter: Wow! What does 梅酒 taste like?
Sakura: It’s sweet and it’s a little bit sour yes and fruity.
Peter: Yes it’s quite good and I prefer it with ice.
Sakura: Ah yes!
Peter: On the rocks.
Sakura: Yes, yes, yes, yes. アイスと On the rocks… and sometimes you make it fizzy, you add the soda.
Peter: Oh mix it with tonic?
Sakura: Yes そうそうそう。
Peter: Oh yes and I know what you are talking about now but…
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: We all know that on the rocks is the best Sakura.
Sakura: I think so yes and girls who can’t drink much often order 梅酒 because it’s not as strong and it also you know, it tastes more like fruit juice.
Peter: It’s almost shocking that there is a alcohol in there. So if you come to Japan or maybe I think you could probably even get it near your home at a big liquor store. We definitely try. One more time?
Sakura: 梅酒
Peter: Yes and if you come to Japan and you get it at the restaurant, you want to say
Sakura: 梅酒、お願いします。 and in 梅酒、梅 is plum and 酒 means liquor.
Peter: Liquor.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: So what do we have next Sakura?
Sakura: Another word associated with 梅 is 梅干
Peter: And what’s this?
Sakura: It’s pickled ume.
Peter: Pickled plums.
Sakura: Ah, yes. Sorry, and うめ is plum right?
Peter: Yeah.
Sakura: And ぼし means dry, it’s dried. So first you dry it and then you put salt and leave it for you know months to make it pickled.
Peter: And these are very, very wet Sakura.
Sakura: Sour.
Peter: Sour.
Sakura: Yes sour and a bit salty.
Peter: Not so salty.
Sakura: Really? Then you are eating good ones. Good ones are a bit sweet.
Peter: Yeah. Oh. Do you like these?
Sakura: I love them. You Peter?
Peter: Umm…well they are little too sour for me. After eating one, I can’t speak for about 30 seconds. So – and one of my eyes is twinging.
Sakura: Really.
Peter: So….for me it’s a bit much but it’s definitely something you want to experience.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: If you come to Japan.
Sakura: Yes. It’s totally different from what you might imagine from plums just you know normal fruity plums and you usually eat it with rice.
Peter: Really?
Sakura: Yes. Do you know お弁当?
Peter: Ah lunchbox.
Sakura: Yes, yes, yes…
Peter: Yeah.
Sakura: お弁当 or 弁当
Peter: Aha!
Sakura: And really like – really authentic Japanese you know, common. お弁当 has rice in like one half of that box and then one 梅干 is in the center of that rice.
Peter: Ah the red thing?
Sakura: Yes. So it looks like Japanese flag you see. And it’s called 日の丸弁当。
Peter: I can’t believe it. I just – that’s the first time and you know I’ve eaten so many 弁当 and this is the first time that it ever occurred to me that that’s what it was.
Sakura: Well maybe if you buy like lunchboxes at shops or convenient stores, they don’t do that so often nowadays in like sold お弁当s like in convenient stores, they have more fancy – fancier rice, you know mixed with something else or – but you know really traditional お弁当 style is 日の丸弁当
Peter: Really?
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: I always get the one with the happy face with the 梅干 lined up in a happy face.
Sakura: You are not!
Peter: No yeah I don’t.
Sakura: I’ve never seen anything like that.
Peter: Now you are starting to get it.
Sakura: Yeah – yes and also, also this is really popular for おにぎり you know おにぎり。
Peter: And that’s what?
Sakura: Rice balls yes, yes おにぎり. They have…
Peter: The rice balls in a triangle shape..
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Wrapped in seaweed.
Sakura: Yes 海苔。...海苔
Peter: Very good.
Sakura: Yes. So it’s like it’s sold like sandwiches you know in Japan.
Peter: Yeah, yeah, yeah...
Sakura: And 梅 is very popular for onigiri. They have one 梅 in the center of onigiri.
Peter: Now be careful because there is a pit…
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: In that one. So don’t bite too hard. Be careful when you are working your way through the 梅干
Sakura: Right.
Peter: Because the pickle plum has a big pit in it.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: And yeah, you don’t want to chip a tooth.
Sakura: Right and if you look closely, it might say pit inside or without pit, you know.
Peter: Really?
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: I’ve never seen that.
Sakura: Really. There is ones with pit and there is ones without pit, okay.
Peter: Okay next we have.
Sakura: Oh yes also when plum trees bear fruit is the rainy season.
Peter: Ah!
Sakura: And I think it originally came from China right. In China, this was called メイユ and this was imported to Japan and we also have the rainy season at that period, June from the end of June to beginning of July and it’s called 梅雨 in Japan.
Peter: Yeah rainy season. It’s a bad season. Humid and raining.
Sakura: Yes like three weeks, four weeks, two weeks, four weeks, yeah…
Peter: Yeah. Definitely come back in June and July to hear us complain more about this.
Sakura: Yes. Well it’s a really important season for rice growing.
Peter: Ah yes.
Sakura: Yes and also to have enough water for summer. Yeah some places you know, they get short of water when the 梅雨 season is short.
Peter: Yeah they depend on this.
Sakura: Yeah, yes, yes, yes and so 梅雨 are made of two kanjis. One is plum and the other is rain and also you can read it by ばいう
Peter: Really?
Sakura: Yes ばいう yes.
Peter: Meaning that in the plum season, there is a lot of rain.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Which means get a good umbrella.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Because it does rain every day.
Sakura: Right.


Peter: Okay so thank you very much Sakura. I think that’s going to pretty much wrap up today’s topic.
Sakura: Yes I think so.
Peter: As always, it was a pleasure.
Sakura: I have to learn more about Peter’s jokes.
Peter: Forget it. No worries. Listen, save yourself, run now, escape.
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: Okay so that’s going to do it for today.
Sakura: Right また明日ね。
Peter: See you tomorrow. Be sure to stop by japanesepod101.com and check out the premium learning center. Inside we have material to bring everything you learned in the lesson together. Flashcards, quizzes really consolidate what you learned in today’s lesson. Stop by, say hi and be sure to leave us a post.

Bonus Audio


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

JapanesePod101.com Verified
March 4th, 2006 at 07:21 AM
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皆さん、(Mina-san) Apologies for the delay in the release of today's episode, but.....apparently armadillos hold grudges!!!! The one that caused all the problems last week was not happy about the way he was treated, and he showed up again! This time with friends!!!!:shock::shock::shock: He, rather, they did a number on us! If anyone is experiencing extremely slow down loads with itunes: please RIGHT click JapanesePod101.com and choose Podcast Update. This should return the downloads to normal speed.:grin: Yoroshiku o-negai shimasu. Apologies for any inconvenience caused!:cry:

JapanesePod101.com Verified
January 11th, 2020 at 01:56 AM
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こんにちは Ariadne,

Thank you for posting. You can access the PDFs attached to this lesson by clicking on the 'Download PDFs' button which is the third round-shaped button next to the 'Mark complete' button.

Hope this helps. Let us know if you have any more questions.

Kind regards,

レヴェンテ (Levente)

Team JapanesePod101.com

December 31st, 2019 at 06:51 PM
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Hi I can’t find the accompanying pdf that I would like to download

Please could you tell me where to find it


JapanesePod101.com Verified
November 1st, 2016 at 12:43 PM
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Thank you for your feedback!

Actually it's written in hiragana, but it looks like katakana since their shapes are very similar.

You can see the similarity on "Learn Hiragana" and "Learn Katakana" pages!

"Learn Hiragana" https://www.japanesepod101.com/learn-hiragana/

"Learn Katakana" https://www.japanesepod101.com/learn-katakana/

Hope this helps,


Team JapanesePod101.com

JapanesePod101.com Verified
October 31st, 2016 at 02:41 PM
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George san


You think so?

Maybe so. :smile:

Yuki 由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com

October 21st, 2016 at 02:19 PM
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I think Peter likes Sakura.

October 21st, 2016 at 02:15 PM
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Why is the "Be" in the word, Bento written in Katakana instead of Hiragana?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
February 1st, 2014 at 01:00 PM
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sou desu ka~~~:smile: Watashi mo daisuki desu:grin:

Natsuko (奈津子),

Team JapanesePod101.com

February 1st, 2014 at 06:24 AM
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Umeboshi~! :heart: :heart: Daisuki desu!

JapanesePod101.com Verified
October 23rd, 2013 at 11:20 AM
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Thanks for sharing.

I looked up the meaning of the poem, it sounds beautiful :smile:



October 20th, 2013 at 05:53 PM
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I know that the Chinese have regarded the plum blossom highly, and yes, there are Japanese translations of them, such as this by Wang An Shi 王安石(おうあんせき): (it's my favorite poem btw)


The original poem in Chinese

梅花   王安石

牆角数枝梅 凌寒獨自開

遥知不是雪 爲有暗香来 

In Japanese

  梅花    王安石

牆(しょう)角(かく)数枝の梅 寒を凌(しの)いで独(ひと)り自ら開く

遥(はる)かに知る是(これ)雪ならざるを 暗香の来る有るが為なり