Views and Visions: Welcome to spring Part 2

Category : Lifestyle/Entertainment

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. fuss / fʌs / (n) – a show of anger, worry, excitement, etc. that’s more than what’s necessary or usual for a situation

    The boy made a fuss when his mother took his toy away.

  2. for starters / fər ˈstɑr tərz / (idiom) – used to say that something is the first reason or example among a list of several others

    I didn’t go to the concert because, for starters, the tickets were too expensive.

  3. apiece / əˈpis / (adv) – for each person, thing, etc.

    The apples here are only ten cents apiece!

  4. cicada / sɪˈkeɪ də / (n) – a large insect that makes a high-pitched sound and is usually found in warm countries

    Every summer, the sound of the cicadas in the trees is so loud.

  5. spot / spɒt / (v) – to see or notice someone or something that’s difficult to see or find

    Mark spotted Brett in the crowd and waved at him.


Read the text below.

Continued from Part 1…

Now, after living here for over three years, I’m finally beginning to understand what all of the fuss is about.

For starters, I really appreciate that the seasons here are an even three months apiece. That’s a welcome change from Canada’s five months of winter!

But beyond the weather, I’m even starting to enjoy all the natural and human-made pleasures that come along with the changing seasons.

Whether it’s cherry blossoms, autumn colors or the sound of a cicada, the sights, sounds and even tastes of the four seasons in Japan always seem to bring back memories of previous seasons. From hanami parties to beautiful autumn hikes, I’m now convinced the distinct seasons help us create new and lasting memories, and remind us of old experiences.

I’m also impressed with how well companies use this to their advantage through seasonal products and packaging. It’s always an exciting time when I spot the first cherry blossom-themed beer cans on the convenience store shelves or when they roll out the oden machine. Their marketing teams deserve a raise!

Of course, other countries celebrate the changing of the seasons, but perhaps not with the same level of enthusiasm.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m getting hungry.

Is it too early for hiyashi chuka? (Joel Tansey)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The author appreciates that seasons in Tokyo are an even three months apiece compared to Canada’s five months of winter. In your opinion, is it better to have 3 months of each season, or would you prefer some seasons to be longer than others? Why? Discuss.
  • The author mentions cherry blossoms, autumn colors, and the sound of a cicada. For you, what are the most important sights and sounds of each season? Why? Discuss.
  • The author says he’s now convinced that the distinct seasons help us create new and lasting memories and remind us of old experiences. Do you agree? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • The author says it’s always an exciting time when he spots the first cherry blossom-themed beer cans or when they roll out the oden machine. Do you get excited by these things too? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • The author says he’s impressed by the many seasonal products and packaging in Japan. What are your favorite seasonal products? Are there any seasonal products that you don’t like? Why? Discuss.
  • The author wonders whether or not it’s too early for hiyashi chuka. How do you feel about eating seasonal foods out of season (ex. oden in summer, cherry blossom desserts in fall)? Why? Discuss.
Category : Lifestyle/Entertainment