Three Little Things

1. Kakizome

かきぞめ (kakizome)

Kakizome is a traditional New Year’s celebration where Japanese people write positive kanji messages to wish for a strong and happy New Year.  Many junior high schools also hold kakizome events before classes begin.  This year, my students, huddled in the gym on a snowy morning, wrote three phrases – 雄大な志 (yudai na kokoro zashi; big heart/grand ambitions); 日進月歩 (nishin zatsupo; gradually improve step-by-step) and 初心貫徹 (shoshin kantetsu; to achieve one’s goals).

2. Mountains

The view of the Tateyama Mountain Range from Namerikawa
I didn’t grow up near any mountains, let alone much nature, so it’s always a treat when I can see the mountains this clearly on my walk home. きれいですよ!


3. “The Curse” by Josh Ritter

I once read an interview where singer-songwriter Josh Ritter said he approached songwriting like his parents (both surgeons) approached surgery.  He is so meticulous in his writing that I believe every word of that comparison.  “The Curse,” Ritter’s song about an archeologist who falls in love with a mummy, randomly played from my iPod as I walked home in the snow after work last week.  This strange love story is a verbose gem.

Author: Sheila Burt


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