Last week, I mentioned 五山の送り火(ござんのおくりび) as one of many events held for the Buddhism “bon” festival. It is going to be held tonight at 8 pm (八時/はちじ) local time.


As I grew up in Kyoto, I saw it every year till I moved to Australia and I have many fond memories of that but one of the memories is about the homework we had every summer holiday (夏休み/なつやすみ).


In Japan, their school year starts in April (四月/しがつ)and ends in March (三月/さんがつ), which means their summer holiday is right in the middle of the school year and children get homework (宿題/しゅくだい)! We had math and Japanese workbooks to complete and a book report (読書感想文/どくしょかんそうぶん) to write. On top of that, in my primary school, we had a picture diary (絵日記/えにっき) to draw. Every year we were given a set of 8 or so coloured sheets of paper, all different colours. There was always a black (黒/くろ) sheet and 大文字(だいもんじ) was the only thing I could think of drawing on that sheet of paper. The thing was I wasn’t the most studious or diligent pupil, so I didn’t do any of that for the first 40 days or so of the holiday and I had to do it all during the last 2 days before the school started! I still remember the feeling of panic…


Boys and girls in Japan – though you are not likely to be reading this – enjoy the holiday but don’t leave everything till the last minute like I did every year!



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