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An omen of things to come

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Auspicious signs and omens in Japan

In ancient Japan, much in the same way as many ancient cultures, there were many methods and ideas about how to read the future and predict the onset of good or bad times.

With the widely varying seasons and natural disasters in Japan, for farming and fishing communities, predicting future weather conditions and phenomena was actually critical to the way of life.

One of the ways to do this was to observe the sky and try to predict what strange patterns in the clouds could mean.

In this interesting blog by Japanese teacher, Miki Oosawa, she talks about a recent weather pattern that had her wondering about these phenomena.

Read the blog in Japanese with Kanji readings and also without Kanji readings, to help you learn Japanese and study for the upcoming JLPT examinations. And also listen to the blog in the accompanying YouTube video to practice your Japanese listening skills.

何かの前兆?
An omen of things to come?

oosawa

By OOSAWA Miki

 今、には何が見えますか?何気なく毎日見ていますが、同じ空はもうありません。時々気象条件が合ったとき、珍しいものが現れます

今年の春のこと、暖かくて風もほとんどないとてもいい天気の日でした。庭から父の呼ぶ声がしたので空を見上げると、今まで見たことのない虹色の雲が見えました。しばらく見ていましたが数分で消えてしまいました。

cloud-rainbow

 後で調べたところ「彩雲」というそうで、初めて見た現象に嬉しくなりましたが、とっさに何かが起こる前兆ではないかと感じました。実はこのとき、もう一つ「ハロ」という太陽の周りに輪が見える現象も起きていました。

halo-sun

 今は科学的原理がわかっていても、昔の人はそれを見たときどんな気持ちだったのでしょう。私だったら、何かが起こる前兆だと思ってパニックになっていたかもしれません。この彩雲を見てしばらくはドキドキしていた私ですが、その後何かいいことが起こったのか、悪いことが起こったのか、もう覚えていません。

To listen to this blog, please watch our Youtube video.

何(なに)かの前兆(ぜんちょう)?

 今(いま)、空(そら)には何(なに)が見(み)えますか?何気(なにげ)なく毎日(まいにち)見(み)ていますが、同(おな)じ空(そら)はもうありません。時々(ときどき)気象条件(きしょうじょうけん)が合(あ)ったとき、珍(めずら)しいものが現(あらわ)れます

 今年(ことし)の春(はる)のこと、暖(あたた)かくて風(かぜ)もほとんどないとてもいい天気(てんき)の日(ひ)でした。庭(にわ)から父(ちち)の呼(よ)ぶ声(こえ)がしたので空(そら)を見上(みあ)げると、今(いま)まで見(み)たことのない虹色(にじいろ)の雲(くも)が見(み)えました。しばらく見(み)ていましたが数分(すうふん)で消(き)えてしまいました。後(あと)で調(しら)べたところ「彩雲(さいうん)」というそうで、初(はじ)めて見(み)た現象(げんしょう)に嬉(うれ)しくなりましたが、とっさに何(なに)かが起(お)こる前兆(ぜんちょう)ではないかと感(かん)じました。実(じつ)はこのとき、もう一(ひと)つ「ハロ」という太陽(たいよう)の周(まわ)りに輪(わ)が見(み)える現象(げんしょう)も起(お)きていました。

 今(いま)は科学的(かがくてき)原理(げんり)がわかっていても、昔(むかし)の人(ひと)はそれを見(み)たときどんな気持(きも)ちだったのでしょう。私(わたし)だったら、何(なに)かが起(お)こる前兆(ぜんちょう)だと思(おも)ってパニックになっていたかもしれません。この彩雲(さいうん)を見(み)てしばらくはドキドキしていた私(わたし)ですが、その後(あと)何(なに)かいいことが起(お)こったのか、悪(わる)いことが起(お)こったのか、もう覚(おぼ)えていません。

An omen of things to come?

What can you see in the sky now? Do you look at it casually every day? There is never the same sky. Sometimes when you are not paying attention, some rare things appear.

This spring, it was hot and with few clouds in the sky and we had really nice weather. My father called me from the garden and when I went and looked up at the sky, there were some rainbow-colored clouds the likes of which I had never seen before. I watched the sky for a while, but in a few minutes the clouds had disappeared. I looked it up later, and I found that they are called “iridescent clouds” and I was happy to have discovered something new, but right away I also felt that what if its an omen for something to come. Actually, at that same time, there was a phenomenon of a “halo” or ring that appeared around the sun.

Now we understand the scientific principles behind these things, but I wonder what people in ancient times thought of these phenomena. If it were me, I would probably think that it was an omen of something about to happen, and would probably panic. When I saw these iridescent clouds I felt really excited, but I don't remember if something good or something bad actually happened after this.

前兆(ぜんちょう) a sign; omen

空(そら) sky

何気(なにげ)なく casually

気象条件(きしょうじょうけん) weather conditions

珍(めず)しい rare

現(あらわ)れます appear

虹色(にじいろ)の雲(くも) rainbow clouds

彩雲(さいうん) iridescent clouds

太陽(たいよう) sun

輪(わ) ring

科学的(かがくてき) scientific

原理(げんり) principle

ドキドキ feel exited; heart beat

oosawa

While all of you may have a different goal, there is one common purpose that you all share, which is to use the Japanese language in order to achieve something. I would be really glad if by learning Japanese here at JOI with me, and with your peers we can help to influence your life – even a little.
When I was a child, I used to perform a musical instrument, and played various kinds of music including pop and jazz. I also love to look at old buildings like temples and shrines and so I often travel. In my class, I would like to introduce some of Japanese culture and the traditions, through learning Japanese, and also introduce some of the characteristics of Japanese people. Lets face our goals together and go for it !

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