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Is it a snowman?

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Hokkaido wildlife

Hokkaido in the northern Japan is one of the places in the country with the most national parks. You can find various animals and plant life much of which is native only to this island.

In this blog, Japanese teacher Sayuri Itaya introduces one of the smallest and cutest animals in Hokkaido. It is so cute, it is featured in many Hokkaido products recently.

Listen to Itaya sensei read out the blog herself and also look at the wonderful photographs too. You can learn new Japanese vocabulary and Kanji from the vocabulary list and furigana version too.

Is it a snowman?


By ITAYA Sayuri








 「エナガ(柄長:Long-tailed tit)」という鳥は 日本でも広く分布していて、尾羽が体長の半分ほどの長さがあり、が長い柄杓のようなので 「エナガ」と名付けられ、北海道の「島」にのみ生存していることで 「シマエナガ」と名付けられました。


 体長は尾羽を含めても14センチほどなので 日本では最も小さい鳥かもしれません。小さくて動きが俊敏なため、北海道在住の私でも見たことがない、あるいは 見ても気が付かなかったのかもしれません。


 ですが、新型コロナウィルス感染症のせいで お家時間が増えた最近、私は旅行できないので 写真投稿サイト等で美しい風景や可愛い動物の写真を見るようになり、そこで見つけたのが、この「シマエナガ」です。

 黒くてつぶら、小さな三角のくちばし、気温が低くなると 体の保温のために 羽毛を膨らませるので、体が丸く見え、このモフモフ感がたまりません。すっかり魅了されてしまいました。とても可愛いいので お菓子やグッズのモチーフにもなるほど、北海道では人気上昇中で 「雪の妖精」とも呼ばれているそうです。

 撮影は冬がお薦めとのことですが、寒さが苦手な私。写真家さん達が 寒い外で 時間をかけてシャッターチャンスを待ち、最高の写真を撮ってくれることに感謝しながら、様々な写真を これからも見せていただこうと思います。

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


 皆(みな)さん、まずは この写真(しゃしん)を ご覧(らん)ください。

 これは、雪だるまではありません。もちろん豆大福(まめだいふく)でも ありません。


 「エナガ(柄長:Long-tailed tit)」という鳥(とり)は日本(にほん)でも広(ひろ)く分布(ぶんぷ)していて、尾羽(おばね)が体長(たいちょう)の半分(はんぶん)ほどの長(なが)さがあり、柄(え)が長い柄杓(ひしゃく)のようなので「エナガ」と名付(なづ)けられ、北海道(ほっかいどう)の「島(しま)」にのみ生存(せいぞん)していることで「シマエナガ」と名付(なづ)けられました。

 体長は尾羽を含(ふく)めても14センチほどなので 日本では最(もっと)も小(ちい)さい鳥かもしれません。小さくて動(うご)きが俊敏(しゅんびん)なため、北海道在住(ざいじゅう)の私(わたし)でも見(み)たことがない、あるいは 見ても気(き)が付(つ)かなかったのかもしれません。

 ですが、新型(しんがた)コロナウィルス感染症(かんせんしょう)のせいで お家時間(うちじかん)が増(ふ)えた最近(さいきん)、旅行(りょこう)できないので 写真(しゃしん)投稿(とうこう)サイト等(など)で美(うつく)しい風景(ふうけい)や 可愛(かわい)い動物(どうぶつ)の写真を見るようになり、そこで見つけたのが、この「シマエナガ」です。


 撮影(さつえい)は冬がお薦(すす)めとのことですが、寒(さむ)さが苦手(にがて)な私。写真家(しゃしんか)さん達(たち)が寒((さむ)い外(そと)で時間(じかん)をかけてシャッターチャンスを待(ま)ち、最高(さいこう)の写真(しゃしん)を撮(と)ってくれることに感謝(かんしゃ)しながら、様々(さまざま)な写真を これからも見せていただこうと思います。

Is it a snowman?

Please start by looking at the photos.

No, this is not a snowman.

And of course it is not a MameDaifuku rice cake.

It is a wild bird called a “Shima Enaga” in Japanese.

An “Enaga” (or Long-tailed tit in English) is bird that is widely distributed around Japan. Its tail feathers are about half the length of its entire body, so it looks like a ladle with a long handle (or 'E'), hence the name “Enaga” (literally long handle). And the “Shima Enaga” exists exclusively on the island (island = shima in Japanese) of Hokkaido, therefore it was named so.

The length of the bird, including the tail feathers is about 14 centimeters, so it is possibly the smallest bird in Japan.Because it is so small and agile, even someone like me who lives in Hokkaido has never seen one, or rather even if I had seen one, I probably didn't realize it.

But due to the effects of the Novel Coronavirus my time at home has recently increased, and since I cannot travel I have started to look at photograph submission sites to see photos of beautiful scenery and cute animals, and it was there that I found the “Shima Enaga” bird.

With it's round eyes, triangular beak, and when the temperature lowers it can puff out its feathers to keep its body warm so its body looks round and this fluffy look is just adorable. I was completely charmed by it. It is so cute, so much so that it has been used a motif for sweets and several products and is gaining popularity in Hokkaido where it is also called the 'snow fairy'.

If you want to take a photo of it, winter season is recommended, but in my case, I dislike the cold. So I am really grateful to the photographers who take a long time out in the cold waiting for a chance to get a good shot and take a great photo for us to enjoy. I would like to show various photos to you from now.

野鳥 【やちょう】 wild bird

分布 【ぶんぷ】 distribution

尾羽 【おばね】 tail feathers

柄 【え】 (n) (1) handle; grip

柄杓 【ひしゃく】 ladle; dipper; scoop

生存 【せいぞん】 existence

名付ける 【なづける】 to name

俊敏 【しゅんびん】 quick-witted and agile; keen and nimble

新型コロナウィルス感染症 【しんがたコロナウィルスかんせんしょう】COVID-19 infection

お家時間 【おうちじかん】 time at home

投稿 【とうこう】 contribution (to a newspaper, magazine, etc.); submission; post (on a blog, social media, etc.)

つぶら round and cute (esp. of eyes)

瞳 【ひとみ】  (1) pupil (of eye);  (2) eye

くちばし beak; bill

膨らます 【ふくらませる】 to swell; to expand; to inflate; to bulge

モフモフ  (on-mim) soft to the touch (e.g. fur, feathers); fluffy

たまらない 《堪らない》 (2) irresistible; tremendous; out of this world

魅了 【みりょう】 (1) fascination; (2) to charm; to fascinate; to mesmerize

モチーフ motif (fre:)

上昇 【じょうしょう】 rising; ascending

妖精 【ようせい】 fairy

お薦め 【おすすめ】recommendation; advice; suggestion; encouragement


Hajimemashite, everyone. My name is Itaya Sayuri. I live in Sapporo, Hokkaido.
Sapporo is a really liveable city because, although we have a lot of snow in the winter, the summers are much cooler than other areas of Japan. Apart from teaching Japanese, I also hope to let everyone know about Sapporo, its beautiful nature and delicious food.
I play volleyball once or twice a week for my health and play golf on occasion. I also love watching movies.
Do you think the Japanese language is difficult? Well, come and enjoy studying with me in our online Japanese classroom?don't worry about making mistakes and just try to speak up as much as possible. I think this is the secret to success in Japanese. Ganbare!

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