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).
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.