Learn

Tweet of the Week #76: April Supermoon Brings Joy Amongst Uncertainty in Japan

The same day a state of emergency was announced in Tokyo over coronavirus, a gorgeous supermoon appeared like a beam of hope in darkness.

By 4 min read

On Tuesday night, the universe graced us with a supermoon—a full moon bigger and brighter than usual. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the moon gave us a chance to look at up the sky and forget earthly matters for a short while.

Moon viewing

Traditionally, Japanese folks hold autumn festivals called 月見つきみ (literally “moon-viewing”) honoring this celestial body around September and October. Very much like with cherry blossom viewing, the Japanese like to contemplate the fleeting beauty of the full moon. After all, we’re talking about a culture which translated “I love you” with the graceful expression “the moon is beautiful tonight, isn’t it” (つき綺麗きれいですね ).

Thirty years from now when I’m asked, ‘Grandpa, what was it like when the state of emergency was announced?’ I’ll be able to say, ‘On that day, there was a beautiful moon.’

Life is beautiful and short, like a passing moon or cherry blossom. And so is a supermoon, an occurrence that happens only a few times per year. During this time, the full moon’s elliptical orbit comes 40,000 km closer to earth, or a mere 356,907 km jump away.

Coincidentally, the first supermoon of the year took place the day Prime Minister Shinzo Abe finally announced a month-long state of emergency for seven prefectures. The next big moon on May 7 should hopefully mark the end of the emergency period.

Maybe you can add stargazing to your stay-at-home activities.

Let us forget for a brief moment

Despite Japan’s urban light pollution, the incredible luminosity and beauty of the supermoon managed to cheer us all up a bit. From bad camera shots to professional photography, people shared pictures of what the moon looked like on social media. It was a way to remind us that not everything is about the pandemic and that life goes on.

Hopefully, decades from now, we’ll remember how beautiful the night was.

30年後さんじゅうねんごくらいに

「おじいちゃん、緊急事態宣言きんきゅうじたいせんげんときってどんなかんじだった??」

ってかれた時に

「そうじゃな…あのつき綺麗きれいよるだった…」

ってうために月をながめてます。

=

I’m watching the moon tonight so 30 years from now when I’m asked, “Grandpa, what was it like when the state of emergency was announced?” I’ll be able to say, “On that day, there was a beautiful moon (at night).”

Appearing up to 30% brighter than a regular full moon, the supermoon was a poetic sight to remember during an international crisis that’s left many of us worried about the future.

https://twitter.com/arakencloud/status/1247495295656579072?s=20

夜空よぞらいろどるスーパームーン

くもがかかって月光環げっこうわのおまけつき.

=

Supermoon coloring the night sky, clouds cover the moonlight ring.

What’s even more beautiful than a supermoon?

A full moon and cherry blossom combo! We are completely wowed by these incredible pictures that were taken for the Asahi Journal in Oita Prefecture.

https://twitter.com/asahi_oita/status/1247558092255981568?s=20

あらためて、大分城址公園おおいたじょうしこうえんさくらと月。ほぼ満月まんげつのピンク&スーパームーンです。観察かんさつされてるかた、ベランダなどからでもえぬようをつけ

#スーパームーン #さくら2020

#イマツキ  #府内城ふないしろ #大分

=

Once again, cherry blossoms and the moon at Oita Castle Park. The nearly full moon is a pink supermoon. To people watching from their balcony etc., please don’t catch a cold.

#SuperMoon #Sakura2020

#Imatsuki #Funai Castle #Oita

And for the unlucky peeps that couldn’t witness this beauty live, @papeushikaru replayed the scene in Animal Crossing, cherry blossoms included.

パペットマペッしまのスーパームーン。

あの月はDIYでつくりました。

#あつまれどうぶつのもり

=

Supermoon on Puppet Mappet Island.

I made a DIY version of the moon.

#AnimalCrossingGathering

Asking “what was it like,” in Japanese

どんな感じ sounds like an easy question to answer. In Japanese, どんな means “what kind”, while 感じ means “feeling,” but there’s probably more nuances to it than you realize.

Roughly translated, どんな感じ can be:

  • How is/was it?
  • What is/was it like?
  • How do/did you feel?
  • How is something (a project etc.) going?
  • What’s your impression of…?

Let’s say you try on some new clothes and want your friend’s opinion. You’ll ask “どんな感じ,” which in this context means “how do I look?”

By comparison, どうやって, which translates to “how,” is more practical and asks “in what way” (how to go somewhere, do something, etc).

Vocabulary

月見つきみ tsukimi moon viewing
綺麗きれい kirei beautiful
30年後さんじゅうねんごくらいに san jyuu nen go ni in 30 years/30 years from now
おじいちゃん ojiichyan grandfather
緊急事態宣言きんきゅうじたいせんげん kinkyuujitaisengen emergency declaration
とき no toki when
どんなかん donna kanji how was it?
かれる kikareru be asked
そうじゃな sou jyana right…
あの ano hi that day
つき綺麗きれいよる tsuki no kireina yoru night with a beautiful moon
iu say
ために tame ni in order to, for
ながめる nagameru look at
夜空よぞら yowora night sky
いろど irodoru color
スーパームーン suupaamuun supermoon
くも kumo cloud
月光環げっこうわ gekkouwa moonlight ring
あらためて aratamete again
さくら sakura cherry blossom
観察かんさつする kansatsu suru observe
かた kata person/people
ベランダ beranda balcony
など nado etc.
えぬようをつけ saenu you ni ki o tsuke be careful not to catch a cold
つく tsukuru make
あつまれ atsumare gathering
どうぶつのもり doubutsu no mori Animal Crossing

For more on learning Japanese

Related

Learn

Kanji Cheat Sheet: Going to the Dentist in Japan

You know the drill.

By 2 min read

Learn

Tweet of the Week #83: No, Japan Will Not Pay For Foreign Tourists to Visit

Sorry to rain on your parade, but Japan's Go to Travel campaign is only for domestic tourists.

By 4 min read