Warm Up

Helpful Words and Phrases

Listen and repeat.

    • ex. The gardener ripped out the grass from the flowerpots.
    • ex. A handshake can symbolize friendship and trust between people.
  1. thriving
    • ex. My small online business is thriving. I have been receiving a lot of orders recently.
    • ex. The countries created an alliance to solve current environmental issues.
  2. blossom
    • ex. In spring, flowers blossom and add color to the garden.


Read the article below and answer your tutor's questions.

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Japan will be giving the United States 250 new sakura trees. These trees will replace those that will be ripped out around Washington, D.C.’s Tidal Basin because of construction in the area. President Biden said that the trees are Japan’s gift to celebrate the U.S.’s 250th anniversary in 2026. He also said that they symbolize the still thriving alliance between the two countries.

Most of the sakura trees in the U.S. can be found around Tidal Basin. Officials said that when Japan learned some trees would be ripped out for construction, the country quickly offered to give new baby trees. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he is confident that “the Japan-U.S. alliance will continue to grow even thicker and stronger.”

In 1912, Japan first gave the U.S. 3,000 sakura trees as a gift to symbolize their friendship. Now, the trees blossom in bright pink and red every spring. They attract more than one million tourists to Washington, D.C. every year. Officials said that two of the most important gifts to the U.S. are Japan’s sakura trees in Washington, D.C. as well as the Statue of Liberty from France.

This material was based on an article by The Associated Press.


Choose a topic and discuss the questions with your tutor.

Sakura Trees

  • Japan gave the U.S. 250 sakura trees to celebrate its 250th anniversary. Do you think that this is a good gift? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • U.S. officials say that the sakura trees from Japan are one of the most important gifts the U.S. received. In your opinion, why do they consider the sakura trees an important gift (ex. because they benefit the country’s economy, because they are important in Japan’s culture)? Discuss.
  • Would you like to visit Washington, D.C. to see the sakura trees blossom? Why or why not? Discuss.


  • Why do you think it's important for countries to have alliances (ex. to provide and receive help when needed)? Discuss.
  • In your opinion, why is it important for countries to exchange cultural symbols as gifts (ex. to promote understanding about each other's cultures)? Discuss.
  • In your opinion, is exchanging gifts between countries a good way to form and improve their alliance? Why do you say so? Discuss.