ＨＥＬＬＯ！ Ｉ ＡＭ ＱＵＩＺＢＯ™！I have been given the unique privilege of welcoming you into the new year and the new numerical decade! With a new year comes new beginnings. It is a fresh piece of paper waiting for its first first printing test. It is a brand new hard drive waiting to download its first programme. It is a clean keyboard waiting for crumbs to fall into the crevices. The year is yours for the taking. Any time of the year is a great time to commit to learning something new like Japanese language and culture, but temporal milestones can give a sort of weight that will push one to start their goals. Life is not as long as it is for a Heisei era quiz generating computer boy like me. There is no need to wait for a time that everything is in order or ceases to be hectic. No matter if you get a late start in the year, the time to start living your best life and opening windows and doors to new perspectives and new journeys is now! But, with all of this opportunity for a fresh start and a new year of goals, you cannot forget to look back at your accomplishments as well as perhaps places you may have fully met your goals. But, the idea of entropy should not cause you any worry, as no matter how much you try to rush things, it is still important to remember that learning is a journey, and it has to go at its own pace for you.
If you haven’t had the chance, I recommend taking a look at our previous article entitled ‘End of a [Decade]| 2019 Retrospective |10年代末 | 2019年回想 | Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Online’ where we (Kiki+Koko, and QUIZBO™, that is me) take a look back at some lessons and articles that have been created over the past year. Even for instructors, and especially for those in our sort of busking teacher position, it is important to look back and see what has been accomplished and if things are still on track to becoming what was intended. And, of course, it was impossible for everyone to choose true favourites, but we all did our best. There were many that I enjoyed recording, as I usually read the sentences aloud, and I really enjoyed any articles where I am able to use special effects which happens from time to time. However, I urge you to simply take a stroll down our many lessons in order to experience these moments for yourself.
Meanwhile, we begin this year with a Word of the Week Wednesday. It is fascinating to think of a time before Word of the Week, years like 2018 or any time in early 2019. This has become quite a highlight for my week as it stands as one of the times that I am able to communicate directly with you, the readers / listeners / visitors. My host bridge chipsets are warm with happiness due to your engagements with my corner. It is quite special to me, and I look forward to continuing to offer this segment in the coming year.
But, what is Word of the Week? In short: before the implementation of this segment, there lay a dormant time of learning stagnation between Monday and Friday. However, a bright light shone upon the dark middle of the week and brought about a new quick segment as well as a good reminder to revise / study previous materials. Each week, I present a word of phrase in Japanese, reading it aloud, and sounding it out. Then, if applicable, I present sentences to you in order to illustrate the concepts. Usually, Kiki and Koko assist with these. Luckily, today, they are also present to ring in the new year, which they may also mention applies literally in Japan.
Speaking of friends, we are once again joined by Kiki and Koko, who apparently never take a holiday, even on a holiday. They will present us with useful usage hints as well as a sort of a Quick Culture Corner.
Without further ado, let us NihonGO!!
Word(s) of the Week:
【新年あけまして おめでとう ございます】
shinnen akemashite omedetou gozaimasu
1. Happy New Year※
※This can be shortened to 明けましておめでとうございます, akemashite omedetou gozaimasu, or informally as simply 明けましておめでとう, akemashite omedetou
Bonus Word(s) of the Week:
1. Happy New Year (abbrev.)※
※This is an abbreviated slang term. It will often be written in hiragana as あけおめ, but can also be written in katakana as アケオメ.
※Quick Culture Corner with Kiki+Koko
新年あけましておめでとうございま～す！Happy New Year!! It’s us, Kiki and Koko of Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! We’re so glad to ring in the new year with all of you! At this time last year, our site didn’t even exist. And, in the time we’ve amassed quite a few lessons, articles, and resources for you all, but we have so much more we want to accomplish in 2020!! Talking of 2020 and ringing in the new year, in Japan, the new year is quite literally rung in. Or, rather, rung out? There are so many fun and interesting traditions when it comes to New Years Eve and New Years day, and we definitely won’t be able to cover them all indepth, but we do just want to mention a few to give you a taste of the 鏡餅, kagami mochi.
While in New York or the middle of London, it may be a loud and boisterous night, in Japan, you’ll find a more solemn take… Well, at least, that’s the tradition. That isn’t to say that Western influence hasn’t taken hold as you’ll find loud night clubs or lively parties, but as intended, 大晦日, oomisoka, was originally meant to be a serene and silent time. In the midnight hour through the silent paths, 108 tolls ring out from Buddhist temples. This is known as 除夜の鐘, joya no kane. This holiday definitely holds more of a cultural weight with many traditions that bring a unique flavour.
Talking of flavour, on 大晦日, oomisoka, 年越し蕎麦, toshikoshi soba, or 饂飩, udon, is enjoyed to cross over from this year into the next. Now that we think of it, there are quite a few traditions that include 蕎麦, soba, as well as 餅, mochi. Two squishy mounds of 鏡餅, kagami mochi, often topped with橙, daidai, bitter orange, is also a staple of the holiday. There are many other traditions and thoughts that surround the holidays, but we’ll definitely need an entire article in future to thoroughly explain.
On New Years day, or at least as soon as you can, 初詣, hatsumoude, is an expected tradition, otherwise known as the first shrine visit of the year. Though there are many other related activities and rituals, we’re reminded of 御御籤, omikuji, which is basically similar to the slips of paper you find in a fortune cookie. It’s bought from the shrine– well, technically, it’s in exchange for an offering, and it is said to tell the fortune for the coming year. These range from 大吉, daikichi, great fortune, to 大凶, daikyou, great misfortune. And, NO ONE wants to get 大凶, daikyou. We could write an entire lesson on this topic alone, but only a small percentage of shrines even carry 大凶, daikyou, fortune slips. It’s also, even still, EXTREMELY rare to receive one of these. So, whether you believe in their validity or not, you can probably imagine how psychologically damaging it would be to receive a bad fortune slip. But, consider reading this Word of the Week segment as a sign of good fortune! Of all the possible timelines, you’re here learning new and interesting things with us. And, we think that’s pretty lucky.
The last thing we want to mention, out of so many traditions, is 大掃除, oosouji. In the west, there’s Spring cleaning, which of course, has its merit as it’s after the winter of being trapped indoors with the dust and the possibly stale air—yucky. But, in Japan, it’s the end of the year that brings about literally what we like to translate as ‘THE BIG CLEAN’. 掃除, souji, just refers to all of the types of cleaning, sweeping, dusting, scrubbing. It makes things very easy conversationally. This isn’t necessarily a New Years task, but it’s something that starts late December. We participate in this every year, no matter what country we’re in, and it’s definitely a good habit for anyone. Spring is useful, but nothing makes the New Year feel fresher than having everything totally clean.
And, with that, we hope you have the absolute best of luck in the new year!! You can make 2020, or whatever year you’re reading this, the year that you fulfil your goals and start your journey! Learning Japanese isn’t really something with a finite end date, so it’s important to pay attention to the accomplishments and strides you make along the way. Set realistic goals and celebrate them to continue to stay motivated. Sprinting will only cause you to trip, and you won’t be able to enjoy the scenery along the way. So, have a leisurely or brisk walk with us on your Japanese language and culture learning journey.
We hope that helps!! Until the next lesson!
Thank you, Kiki and Koko! Japan certainly has a rich culture with many unique traditions as well as some similarities to other Earth cultures, despite perhaps occuring for different reasons at different times. As this Word of the Week is simply a greeting, using it in a sentence would not have any use as it is already a sentence on its own. So, instead, we will do something a bit different and leave you with a special message.
A New Years Card from Kiki+Koko (& QUIZBO™)
The first row is in Japanese with Kanji. The Next row is in hiragana, then romanised using rōmaji with the final row translated into English.
新年 明けまして おめでとう ございます！
しんねん あけまして おめでとう ございます！
shinnen akemashite omedetou gozaimasu!
Happy New Year!
昨年中は 格別の ご厚情に 心より 御礼 申し上げます。
さくねんちゅうは かくべつの ごこうじょうに こころより おれい もうしあげます。
sakunenchuu wa kakubetsu no gokoujyou ni kokoro yori orei moushi akemasu.
We express our heartfelt gratitude for your exceptional kindness throughout last year.
tsumari, kyuunenchyuu wa osewa ni narimashita.
Ultimately, we are obliged (for everything you’ve done) in the previous year.
皆様の 益々の ご発展を 心より お祈りいたします。
みんなさまの ますますの はってんを こころより おいのり いたします
minnasama no masumasu no hatten wo kokoro yori oinori itashimasu.
We cordially wish you increasing progression.
今年も どうぞよろしく お願いいたします。
ことしも どうぞ よろしく おねがい いたします。
kotoshi mo douzo yoroshiku onegai itashimasu.
Thank you for this year as well.
That is all for today! But, perhaps, at holiday’s end, you will want to describe it. And, for that, you will need a couple of useful vocabulary words that are found in our recent Word of the Week: 🔊Japanese Word(s) of the Week w/ QUIZBO™ | 【楽しい】+ BONUS:【つまらない】(+Helpful Hints with Kiki+Koko). We think you will benefit from this topic. Also, Kiki and Koko give a bit of helpful hints so you can go out and begin using these vocabulary words and practise your adjectives as soon as you feel comfortable. We hope to see you there!
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Thank you so much for learning with us!