日本の桜 Japanese Cherry Blossom Trees

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日本の春  spring in Japan [日本 (Japan) + の (modifying particle) + 春 (spring)]

と言えば speaking of [と (quotation marker quoting 日本の桜 + 言え (from 言う)) + ば (if/when); conditional ば]Construction:    1. Change u-sound into e-sound (言う → 言え)   2. Add ば at the end (言え → 言えば); think of ~と言えば as “speaking of”]

桜 cherry blossom

日本人 Japanese people

大好き to really like/love something [愛する (to love) is mostly used for “to love romantically”]


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満開の桜の下で under the full bloom cherry blossom trees

満開の桜  cherry blossom in full bloom; cherry blossom at the peak [満開 (full bloom) + の (modifying particle that connects the modifying  (満開) and the modified (桜))]

~の下で under (cherry blossom); underneath ~ [~の of ~ +下 (under; below; down) +で (indicating the location of action)]

友達 friend(s)

や (such things as) ~ or/and ~ [used to list multiple items (nouns) out of a non-exhaustive list (non-exhaustive connective); it can be used multiple times to list examples]

家族 family; family members

仕事仲間 friends from work; coworkers [仕事 (work; job) + 仲間 (comrade; companion; circle of friends)]

と集まって getting together with [と(with) + 集まって (from 集まる (to gather));  te-form conjunctive]

食事をしたりお酒を飲んだりする (such things like) eating food or drinking alcohol 

食事をし eating food or/and [食事をし from 食事をする]

たり and/or [a particle used for inexhaustive list of actions or situations; used once or nested multiple times to list examples of actions or situations: たり Construction : Step 1.  Conjugate a verb to the past tense: する→し Step 2.  Add り: した→ した Note: although this is constructed with the past tense, たりitself is tenseless.]

お酒  alcohol [お (honorific prefix) + 酒 (alcohol); sounds nicer than 酒 without お which would sound sort of crude or male speech]

飲んだり  drinking [from 飲む (to drink) +     だり]

する to do

 Aたり, Bたりする doing such things as A and/or B [very often たり is used in this form]


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ことを [こと (nominalizing particle turning the preceding sentence into a noun state so it can be the direct object of this main sentence) + を (direct object marker)]

花見 cherry blossom viewing; flower viewing

~と言います   is called as ~ [と (quotation marker quoting 花見) + 言います (polite of 言う (to say; to tell))]

春になって when spring comes and [春 (spring) + に (to be) + なって(te-form of なる (to become); conjunction)]

咲き始めると when (cherry blossom) starts to bloom [咲き (masu-stem of 咲く(to bloom)) + 始める(to start~) + と(when/if (indicating a condition))]

いつ when

お花見  cherry blossom viewing  [お (honorific prefix which makes it sound very polite)]

しようか  shall do [しよう (simple volitional form of する (to do)) + か (question marker); volitional form here indicates suggestion, intention or desire; polite volitional form is しましょう(か)]

 お花見する to do cherry blossom viewing [short for お花見する (を is dropped which makes it sound more casual)]

~といった相談 conversations such as

といった  such as ~ [と (quotation marker) +  いった (from いう); possibly shortened from と言ったような (such conversations that says ~), and といった (相談) sounds more concise and formal]

相談 (conversation; consultation; discussion)

始まります begins; (you) start hearing (conversations such as ~)


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アメリカに住んでいると when living in the States  [アメリカ (the United States) + に (in) + 住んでいる (continuous form of 住む (to live)) + と(when; if; while)]

~がないので because there is not ~ [が (topic marker) + ない (not exist; not have) + ので (because)]

日本人の私は  I, as a Japanese [日本人 (Japanese person) + の(modifier)  + 私 (I) + は (as for)]

少し寂しいです  am a little sad [少し (a little) +    寂しい (sad) + です (polite copula)]


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さて well; now; then [conjunction or interjection]

川のほとり by the bank of river; by a river [川 (river) + の (of) + ほとり(side; usually used for a body of water like rivers, ponds, or lakes; it is not used for the ocean)]

や  (such things as) ~ or/and ~ [used to list multiple items out of a non-exhaustive list; non-exhaustive connective]

道の両側  both sides of  the road [道 (road); 両側 (both sides; 両 (both) + 側 (side))]

公園 park

に  indicating the surface of a location where some action is done

植えられています  are planted [passive of  植える (to plant); polite of  植えられている; (て)いる is the continuous form which indicates a state/condition of those places where cherry blossom trees have been planted]


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学校に植えられていることも多くて  there are many instances of schools having cherry blossom trees planted (in their) yard

学校に  at school [学校 (school) + に (indicates the surface of a location)]

植えられている (cherry blossom trees) are planted

こと occasion; case; fact (of schools having cherry blossom trees in their yard)

も also; as well; too

多くて  many and [te-form of  多い; te-form of an adjective acting as a conjunctive just like the verb te-form; 多く (adverbial form) can be used the same way, just less casual than the te-form conjunctive]

春の卒業式や入学式には  for the time of graduation ceremonies or school entrance ceremonies in the spring

春の  in spring [春 (spring) + の (in (modifying both  卒業式 and 入学式))]

卒業式  graduation ceremony  [卒業 (graduation) + 式 (ceremony)]

や (such things as) and /or [used to list multiple items out of a non-exhaustive list; non-exhaustive connective]

入学式 (school) enrollment ceremony [入学 (school enrollment (入(enter); 学 (school))) + 式 (ceremony)]

には for (the time of the graduation ceremonies or enrollment ceremonies) [に (indicates time/occasion/event) + は (contrast marker emphasizing for those time of ceremonies)]


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ちょうど桜が咲いていることもよくあります there are many times cherry blossoms are in bloom just in time (for those ceremonies)

ちょうど exactly; just in time; coincidentally

咲いている  is blooming; in bloom [咲いている (continuous form of  咲く (to bloom)); continuous form (て)いる indicating continuous state/condition vs. 咲くis the action of “to bloom (for flowers to open)”]

こと time; occasion; fact [nominalizing particle that turns the preceding sentence into a noun state, making it the subject of this sentence]

も also; as well, too

よくあります happens often; exists often [よく(often) + あります(polite of ある(to exist; to have; there is))]

ソメイヨシノ  a name of a popular and well-known variety of cherry blossom tree

~という種類 the kind (of cherry blossom tree) called~ [という (called) + 種類 (variety; kind)]

 で  [particle that indicates a state/condition; で here is actually the te-form of the copula だ which is functioning as a conjunctive (sort of like “and”), instead of ending the sentence as ~という種類だ(です) and starting another sentence] 


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江戸時代に  in Edo period (1603-1868 ) [江戸 (Edo) + 時代 (period) + に(in (indicating time))]

人工的に artificially [人工的 (man-made; artificial) + に (making 人工的 into an adverb; sort of like the “-ly” suffix)]

生み出されたもの  (artificially) created cherry blossom tree

生み出された created; brought forth; invented [passive and past of  生み出す (生む (to give birth; to bear)) + 出す (to bring out)]

もの thing; matter [used as a pronoun for この桜 (or could be 種類) to avoid repeating the same word]

葉より先に花が咲き、とても華やかです  flowers open up before the leaves come out, and it is very showy

葉  leaves [葉 (leaf) + より(than) + 先 (before; ahead of)]

~より先に earlier than ~; ahead of ~ [より(than) + 先 (before; ahead) +に (indicating time)]

花  flower; blossom

咲き  blooms and [masu-stem of 咲く(to bloom) which is acting as a conjunctive (masu-stem conjunctive); 咲いて (te-form conjunctive) would work too, but the te-form conjunctive would feel more casual]

華やか  showy; brilliant; gorgeous


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若い木でも花を咲かせるので  since it blooms even when young

若い木  young tree [若い (young) + 木 (tree)]

でも even (young tree)

花 flower

咲かせる bloom [causative form of 咲く(to bloom); (若い木でも)花が咲く would work perfectly fine; the causative form is used poetically here as if the young trees have the will to make flowers bloom; this technique is used fairly often for plants or even non-living things as a way to express characteristics or features]

ので  because; since

日本では  in Japan [で (in) ; は (as for)]

桜と言えばソメイヨシノと言ってもよい  when we speak of cherry blossom it is safe to say it’s almost always about someiyoshino

と言えば  speaking of; when we speak about

~と言ってもよい  is safe to say ~ [と (quotation marker) + 言って (te-form of 言う) +も (even) +よい (good); いい would work in place of よい which sound more formal than いい]

~くらい人気があり is popular to the point of ~ [referring the preceding sentence]

~くらい to the extent that ~; as much as ~ [FYI: strictly speaking, くらい is acting as an adverb modifying あり; however, the の (modifying particle) can come after くらい (くらい人気)]

人気があり is popular and [人気 (popularity) + が + あり(masu-stem of ある (to have; to exist));    masu-stem conjunctive, which sounds like a written/spoken narration compared to あって (te-form conjunctive); 人気がある means ”to be popular”]


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日本の桜の80パーセントが「ソメイヨシノ」だそうです  it seems 80% of cherry blossom trees in Japan are someiyoshino

日本の  Japanese (cherry blossom) [の is a modifying particle and means “of”; here, it is modifying 桜 (cherry blossom of/in Japan);  (日本-modifier) の (桜-modified)]

日本の桜の  cherry blossom trees in Japan [the second の is modifying 80パーセント; the modifying particle の comes between the word it is modifying and the word that’s being modified; (日本の桜 modifier) の (80パーセント-modified); の can be nested multiple times as in this case]

80パーセント  80 percent

~だそうです  it is said that ~; I heard that ~ [だ (affirmative of simple copula) + そう (indicates second-hand information/hearsay) + です(polite copula)]


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たいへん  very [たいへん (very; sounds more formal than とても)]

華やかな  showy; gorgeous [na-adjective; 華やかな桜; 桜が華やか(だ)]

が although; however; but

病気になりやすく  gets diseased easily and…

病気 illness; sickness

~になりやすく  easy to become ~ and; to tend to ~ and [adverbial form of ~になりやすい; に (to (be)) + なり(masu-stem of なる (to become)) + ~やすく(adverbial form of ~やすい (easy to ~)); adverbial form of i-adjective functioning as a conjunctive (more casual version is なりやすくて(te-form conjunctive)]

寿命が短いことが特徴です  the fact that (the tree’s) life is short is its trait; it is characteristic that the life is short

寿命が短い   life is short; short-lived [寿命 (life span); 短い (short)]

~こと the fact that ~ [nominalizing particle that makes the preceding sentence into a noun state; の nominalizing particle would work here also; but not in every case]

特徴  feature; trait; characteristic


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お花見で   during/at cherry blossom viewing

マナーの悪い人たち   people with bad manners; bad-mannered people [マナー (manners) + の (modifying particle) + 悪い (bad) +人たち (people); マナー悪い人たち  and マナー悪い人たち are exactly the same here and both can be used. Yes, の and が are interchangeable in this situation. However, this is ONLY true within a subordinate-clause, not as the main subject and main predicate. The main subject is “someiyoshino tree” (hidden), and the main predicate is  枯れてしまうこともある; example: 今日は、気分いい is fine. 今日は、気分いい is not correct. However, both 今日は、気分いい日です and 今日は、気分いい日です are fine]

枝を折って持ち帰ろうとすることがある  there are times when (bad mannered people) break branches and take them home

枝を折って  break a branch and [枝 (branch); 折って(te-form of 折る(to break; to fold)); te-form conjunctive]

持ち帰ろう wanting to bring home; trying to bring home [持ち帰ろう(simple volitional form of  持ち帰る(to bring back)); 持ち帰る(compound verb): 持ち(from 持つ (to hold)) + 帰る(to return; to go back); volitional form is used for expressing intentions, desires, suggestions, soft commands, or when making a guess. ]

Volitional + とする to try to do ~; to want to do ~  [と (quotation marker) + する (to do)]

ことがある  there are times when ~; (sometimes) ~ happens [こと(occasion; time); ある (to exist; to have)]


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のです  [の (explanatory particle used to inform the readers or audiences with things that are not known to them); ~がありますが (without の) would work also, but that would lose the subtle emphasis which the writer is wanting to convey to the readers.]

が  and [this is not “but/although”]

折られたところ  the place where it was broken off  [折られた (passive of 折る (to break)) +とこ ろ (place) + から (from)]

病原菌  virus; germ; pathogen [病 (illness) + 原 (source) + 菌 (germ)]

入り込み  to go in and; to invade and [masu-stem of  入り込む (to go in; compound verb); 入り(from 入るto enter) + 込む (to pack in); masu-stem conjunctive; 入り込んで (te-form conjunctive) would work here as well]

枯れてしまう  to end up with dying [枯れて (te-form of 枯れる (plants to die)) + しまう(indicates an unfavorable outcome)]

~こともある sometimes ~ also happens; there are also times when ~ happens [こと (occasion) +も (also) +   ある (to exist); も replaces が (subject marker in ことある)]

~そうです they say ~; it is said ~; I heard that ~    [そう indicates secondhand information/hearsay]


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枝を折ったり  breaking branches or [枝 (branch) + を (direct object marker) + 折ったり (from 折る (to break)) + たり(and/or); remember the たりconstruction ☛  <simple past form + り> ] 

傷をつけたりする do things like hurting (the trees) [傷をつけたり(from 傷をつける (to hurt ~; to scar ~)); 傷 (scar) + を (direct object marker) + つける (to attach); する (to do)]

~たり、∼たりする  do such things like ~ or, or ~

~こと  [こと (nominalizing particle making the preceding sentence into a noun state); の nominalizing particle can be used here as well]

 は  as for; regarding [contrast marker making emphasis; the preceding sentence is actually the direct object of the main sentence, therefore grammatically, を can be used in place of は; however, は is sort of calling the reader’s attention to a strong point that the author of this article is trying to make]

絶対(ぜったい)にやめましょう。 さて、1912(せんきゅうひゃくじゅうに)年(ねん)にアメリカに日本(にほん)の桜(さくら)が贈(おく)られて、ワシントンDCのポトマック川(がわ)のほとりに植(う)えられました。

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絶対にやめましょう  let’s never do; absolutely don’t do

絶対に  absolutely; never (when used with a negative ending)

やめましょう let’s not do ~ [Literally, “let’s stop~”; やめ (masu-from of やめる (to stop; to end; to quit)) + ましょう(polite volitional form which is used here for a polite command/suggestion); やめましょうis used often on “don’t do~” signs in public spaces]

さて now; by the way [conjunction used between sentences or paragraphs]

1912年に   in 1912 [に (in)]

アメリカに  to the United States [へ  can be used in place of  に]

贈られて  were sent and [te-form of  送られる which is passive of  送る(to send); conjunctive]

ワシントンDCのポトマック川   Potomac river in Washington DC

のほとりに at the river bank of  [ほとり(by the side of); used only for bodies of water except the ocean; に (indicates location)]

植えられました  were planted [polite and past of   植えられる which is passive of 植える(to plant)]


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年に一度  once a year [年 (year) + に (in/per) + 一 (one) + 度 (counter for occurrences/occasions); example:  週に二度 (twice a week)]

ミスさくらを選んだりパレードをしたりする桜祭り  Cherry Blossom festival that has events like selecting Miss Cherry Blossom or parades

ミスさくら  Miss Cherry Blossom

(~を)選んだり  selecting ~ or… [選ぶ (to choose; to select) + だり(a version of たり); たりconstruction ☛  <simple past form + り> ; たり becomes だりdepending on the past form of the verb]

パレードをしたりする  doing such things like a parades [パレードをする (to have a parade) + たりする (doing things like (having a parade))]

「桜祭(さくらまつ)り」が開(ひら)かれます。  次回(じかい)は、ワシントンDCの桜(さくら)の歴史(れきし)をご紹介(しょうかい)しましょう。

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(が)開かれます  is taken place [polite and passive of    開く(to open); often used as “to take place” for events, sort of like the opening of the curtain for a stage play]

次回は   in the next issue  [次 (next) + 回 (episode; installment (counter for occurrences)) + は (as for)]

ワシントンDCの  in Washington DC

桜の歴史   the history of cherry blossom  [歴史 (history)]

(~を)ご紹介しましょう  (we) will introduce ~;  (we) shall introduce ~ [ご (honorific prefix) + 紹介 (introduction) + しましょう(polite volitional form of  紹介する (to introduce)); し (masu-stem of する) +  ましょう(polite volitional-derived from ます); simple volitional is  紹介しよう; in this case, the volitional form is used for expressing an intention]


日本の春と言えば、桜です。日本人は、桜が大好きです。満開の桜の下で、友達や家族、仕事仲間と集まって食事をしたり、お酒を飲んだりすることを「花見」と言います。春になって、桜が咲き始めると、「いつお花見しようか?」といった相談が始まります。    アメリカに住んでいると、「花見」がないので、日本人の私は少し寂しいです。



 たいへん華やかなソメイヨシノですが、病気になりやすく、寿命が短いことが特徴です。お花見でマナーの悪い人たちが枝を折って持ち帰ろうとすることがあるのですが、折られたところから病原菌が入り込み、枯れてしまうこともあるそうです。枝を折ったり、傷をつけたりすることは、絶対にやめましょう。 さて、1912年にアメリカに日本の桜が贈られて、ワシントンDCのポトマック川のほとりに植えられました。年に一度、ミスさくらを選んだり、パレードをしたりする「桜祭り」が開かれます。  次回は、ワシントンDCの桜の歴史をご紹介しましょう。

When speaking of spring in Japan, one immediately thinks of sakura cherry blossoms. Japanese people really love sakura blossoms.  Gathering with friends, family members, and coworkers under a full bloom cherry blossom tree to eat food or drink alcohol is called “hanami” or “cherry blossom viewing.”  When spring comes and cherry blossom trees start to bloom, you will hear questions such as, “When shall we go cherry blossom viewing?”  As a Japanese living in the United States, I am a little sad because I can’t easily experience “hanami” here.

Cherry blossom trees are planted in places like the banks of rivers, on the sides of roads, and in parks. Many schools have cherry blossom trees planted in their schoolyard, and oftentimes, the cherry blossom trees are in bloom just in time for the school’s graduation or enrollment ceremonies.  This type of cherry blossom tree is called “someiyoshino.” It was artificially created in the Edo period (1603-1868). The flowers bloom before the leaves come out. They’re very gorgeous and it blooms even while it is still young. This type of tree is so popular that when we speak of sakura in general, it is safe to say we are referring to the someiyoshino tree. Some 80% of Japanese cherry blossom trees are this type.

Someiyoshino cherry trees are very gorgeous, but they can easily become diseased, and they have a short lifespan. There are times during cherry blossom viewing when people with bad manners break branches to take them home. Disease can enter the broken places and the tree ends up dying. Let’s never do things like break branches or hurt the trees.

By the way, Japanese cherry trees were presented as a gift to the United States in 1912 and were planted on the banks of the Potomac River in Washington DC. Once each year, there are events like selecting Ms. Cherry Blossom and parades.

In the next issue, we will introduce to you the history of the cherry blossoms in Washington DC.

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