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JOI Support staff and manager.

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U-Turn Rush during Obon

The teacher's blog this week by Ueno sensei, a professional Japanese teacher at JOI, talks about a phenomenon in Japan that happens during the holiday seasons.

There is another similar phenomenon which is called “U-Turn Rush”. When the holidays are over, everyone floods back to their cities to start the working weeks. This creates huge traffic jams going into the big cities – especially Tokyo. Newspapers, radio stations and TV news hark on and on about this measuring the lines of traffic and estimating travel times along the major highways. This too is a staple of the Japanese holiday seasons.

Read this blog to learn useful Japanese phrases and vocabulary. Listen to the audio and watch the video to have a fun way to learn Japanese for free.



By UENO Akari


JOIは、8月11日から15日までお盆休みでした。 お盆には、毎年たくさんの人が一斉に帰省します。 帰省というのは、お正月やお盆などの休みに故郷に帰ることです。

飛行機や新幹線は満席になり、高速道路は何十キロも渋滞・・・ これを帰省ラッシュといい、すっかり夏の風物詩の一つになっています。

テレビやラジオでは、渋滞のピークを予想したり、高速道路の様子を伝えたりします。 「いや~、1キロ進むのに1時間かかりましたよ~」などとインタビューに答えているお父さんをテレビで見かけたりもします。



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


JOIは、8月11日(はちがつじゅういちにち)から15日(じゅうごにち)までお盆休(ぼんやす)みでした。 お盆(ぼん)には、毎年(まいとし)たくさんの人(ひと)が一斉(いっせい)に帰省(きせい)します。帰省(きせい)というのは、お正月(しょうがつ)やお盆(ぼん)などの休(やす)みに故郷(ふるさと)に帰(かえ)ることです。

飛行機(ひこうき)や新幹線(しんかんせん)は満席(まんせき)になり、高速道路(こうそくどうろ)は何十キロ(なんじゅっきろ)も渋滞(じゅうたい)・・・ これを帰省(きせい)ラッシュといい、すっかり夏(なつ)の風物詩(ふうぶつし)の一つになっています。

テレビやラジオでは、渋滞(じゅうたい)のピークを予想(よそう)したり、高速道路(こうそくどうろ)の様子(ようす)を伝(つた)えたりします。 「いや~、1キロ進(きろ)むのに1時間(いちじかん)かかりましたよ~」などとインタビューに答(こた)えているお父(とう)さんをテレビで見(み)かけたりもします。

そのような混雑(こんざつ)とは反対(はんたい)に、お盆休(ぼんやす)みの時期(じき)の街(まち)の中心部(ちゅうしんぶ)はガラガラになり、通勤電車(つうきんでんしゃ)もびっくりするぐらい空(す)いています。お盆休(ぼんやす)みの会社(かいしゃ)が多(おお)いからです。 みなさんの国(くに)でも同(おな)じようなことがありますか?


JOI had the Summer Obon holiday from August 11th to 15th . During Obon season, many people do their homecoming (kisei) all together every year. Homecoming (or kisei in Japanese ) is the act of returning to one's hometown during the New Year or Summer Obon holidays.

Airlines and bullet trains are filled up, and the highways experience traffic jams for several kilometers. This is known as the Kisei Rush which has completely become one of the most common sights in summer.

TV and radio try to predict the peak of the traffic jams, and report on the condition of the highways constantly. You often see dad's answering interview questions on TV with the cliché, “Man. It took us one hour to go one kilometer !”

On flip side to this congestion, the centers of cities are almost deserted. You would be surprised how empty the commuter trains are. This is because many companies have holidays during the Obon season.

Do you have similar things in your country ?

お盆休(ぼんやす)み:Obon holiday
※The Obon holiday is a time when the Japanese traditionally welcome their ancestors' on August 13th and send them back on the 16th.

一斉(いっせい)に:all at once; all together


満席(まんせき):full occupancy

渋滞(じゅうたい):traffic jam [congestion]

風物詩(ふうぶつし) :季節(きせつ)の特徴(とくちょう)をよく表(あらわ)すもの
:things which remind one of a particular season; common sight of the season


ガラガラ:almost deserted


Hajimemashite everyone ! My name is Akari Ueno.
I live in Tokyo with my husband and daughter. I have had the experience of living in Hokkaido, Yokohama and Singapore.
I studied History in university, so I love touring around historical ruins. When I was younger, I went to see the Great Pyramids and Borobudur in Indonesia, but now I merely tour around the neighborhood parks with my daughter. I dream of touring around the world's famous ruins with my daughter one day.

When I study languages, one English phrase always comes to mind, "Use it, or lose it". I used to be scared of making mistakes, so even when I learned new vocabulary, I didn't use it. But after learning this English phrase from a friend, I started to use the vocabulary and terms I'd learned without fear of making mistakes.

Try to use your newly learned vocabulary and phrases all the time in the lessons. Looking forward to meeting you all in class !

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Tagged in: Japanese culture


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Guest Tuesday, 26 October 2021