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Natural Wonders: Snow Flutter [Feb. 17th Sat.]

Snow flutter cover photo
  • 60 minutes lesson
  • The first 5 explorers per lesson
  • 2,200 yen per lesson for an unforgettable exploration

Lesson Preview

Japan is a country that gets a lot of snow, and more than half of the country is designated as a heavy snowfall area. In areas with heavy snowfall, shoveling snow around buildings and clearing snow from roads is an essential part of daily life.

Snow, on the other hand, covers up everything and creates a beautiful world of silvery white. Snowy landscapes are not only romantic but also have a fragile feeling of fading away. As a result, snow appears in many literary works, movies, and songs, representing Japan.

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Shirakawa-go in Gifu Prefecture is one of those particularly beautiful places where snow-covered thatched-roof houses.

In Yokote City, Akita Prefecture, there is an event called “Kamakura” held during the Koshougatsu (Lunar New Year, January 14-16). People stack snow to create a snow chamber in which a water deity is worshiped. It's a traditional event with a history of about 450 years.

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In Japan, it is thought that snow is a sacred thing that removes all debris. It is the inherited sensibility of the Japanese to feel sadness at the harsh but beautiful and fleeting fate of snow.

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Lesson Dialogue Preview

Anna: How do Japanese people express the fact that it’s snowing?

Mayumi: For example, the scene of snow falling quietly and incessantly is described as “shinshin,” while the fluttering and swirling of snow are expressed as “chirachira” or “hirahira.” Additionally, when snow falls from roofs or branches, it’s described as a “dosatt” sound.

the house is covered by snow

Anna: I see. What expressions are used for different types of snow?

Mayumi: For instance, wet snow falling in large, petal-like clumps, resembling peony petals, is called “botan (peony)- yuki” or “bota-yuki.” On the contrary, light, powdery snow is called “konayuki.”

Vincent: Can you eat snow?

Snow on the floor with tree

Mayumi: During the Heian period (late 8th century to late 12th century), there is an anecdote that aristocrats enjoyed shaved ice by pouring sweet honey over it.

Mark: I want to experience “yukimi-zake,” enjoying alcohol while gazing at the snow.

Vincent: Both are quite elegant, aren’t they?

Practice Listening

English and Japanese audio

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