On December 22, 2021, Japan celebrated the winter solstice (冬至), the shortest day of the year. Traditionally, Japanese people would celebrate the day with a yuzu bath—perfumed with the whole citrus fruit or cut pieces encased in a bag. However, nowadays, people might not pursue the tradition at home. Still, some sento (public baths) and onsen (hot springs) offer yuzu baths to their customers.
It is said the tradition helps bring good fortune and ward off colds. What we can say for sure is that you’ll smell good after dipping in a bath filled with citrus oil! Even Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Colonel Sanders does it.
No yuzu at home? No worries, @37motor came up with a solution to enjoy a citrusy bath using yuzu paste. We’re not sure the result will be quite the same, though!
Finger lickin’ yuzu
＼今日は #冬至 ／
“Today is the winter solstice.
Speaking of the winter solstice, #yuzu-bath [is typical].
There are many theories about its origin, but it seems to have started as a way to ward off bad luck.
Enjoy the scent of yuzu and warm up your body and soul!
In preparation for Christmas, Colonel Sanders seems to be taking a yuzu bath with his chicken today!”
The cheaper alternative
— みなけ (@37motor) December 22, 2021
Expressing ‘speaking of…’
The phrase といえば, which can be written alternatively with and without kanji (と言えば), helps bring up typical examples or associations with the subject in a conversation. You can roughly translate the expression with “speaking of…” or “when you say…” For instance, when you chat about spring in Japan, the image coming to mind is likely to be cherry trees and hanami.
来年のことを言えば鬼が笑う: “Talk about next year and the devil will laugh.”
Here are some examples:
- 春といえば桜だ: “Spring means cherry blossoms.”
- ２月といえばもうすぐバレンタインだね: “Speaking of February, Valentine’s Day is coming soon.”
- 12月といえば、もうすぐクリスマスですね: “Speaking of December, Christmas will soon be here!”
- 日本のお正月といえば、おせち料理ですね: “When it comes to the Japanese New Year, osechi dishes are a must.”
Learning about といえば also offers the opportunity to learn a Japanese proverb:
- 来年のことを言えば鬼が笑う: “Talk about next year and the devil will laugh (meaning no one can predict the future).”
|柚子湯||yuzuyu||Bath perfumed with yuzu fruit|
|起源||kigen||Origin, have its root (in…)|
|厄払い||yakuharai||Exorcism, drive out evil|
|香り||kaori||A scent or odor (positive)|
|ぽかぽか||pokapoka||Pleasantly warm, nice and warm|
|仲良い||nakayoi||A good relationship, intimate|