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!