Proud of Japan’s Four Seasons

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Japan has four seasons to enjoy in which spring, summer, autumn, and winter are almost equal in length.
日本には、春、夏、秋、冬をほぼ均等の長さで楽しむことができる四季があります。

The Japanese enjoy the changes in season with seasonal dishes, clothing, festivals, and other events.
日本人は旬の料理や衣替え、祭り、イベントなどで季節の変化を楽しみます。

There are many events reflecting the seasons, for instance, cherry blossom, viewing in spring, or wearing yukata (summer kimono) for lifework displays in summer.
例えば、春の花見、夏には浴衣姿での花火大会など、季節の風物詩となっているイベントがたくさんあります。

In haiku – which originated in Japan and being composed of 17 syllables is said to be the world’s shortest form on poetry – there is a rule that a phrase referencing the season must be included.
日本で生まれた世界でもっとも短いと言われる17音の詩、俳句には、季節を表す言葉を必ず入れるというルールがあります。

Japan’s Meteorological Agency defines spring as falling between March and May, summer between June and August, autumn between September and November, and winter between December and February.
気象庁は3〜5月を春、6〜8月を夏、9〜11月を秋、12〜2月を冬と定義しています。

Astronomically, spring is from the spring equinox to the summer solstice, summer from the summer solstice to the autumn equinox, autumn from the autumn equinox to the winter solstice, and winter from the winter solstice to the spring equinox.
天文学的には春分から夏至までを春、夏至から秋分までを夏、秋分から冬至までを秋、冬至から春分を冬としています。

In order for people to get more of a sense of the passing of the seasons, the traditional Japanese calendar divides a year up into 24 seasons with the names of each season written on it.
季節の変化を感じられるように、日本の伝統的なカレンダーには1年を24の季節に分けた季節名が記されています。

It states that the first day of spring is February 4, the first day of summer May 6, the first day of autumn August 7, and the first day of winter November 7. This may be one day before or after, since it is based on the movements of the sun.
そして、立春は2月4日、立夏は5月6日、立秋は8月7日、立冬は11月7日としています。太陽の動きを基準にする為、前後に1日ずれることがあります。

止まらない異常気象と影響

However, abnormal weather in recent years is affecting Japan’s four seasons, too.
しかし、近年の異常気象は日本の四季にも影響を与えています。

Temperatures are going up during summer in Japan, and are exceeding 40 degrees centigrade in some areas.
日本の夏は気温が高くなり、40度を超す地域もあります。

Japan is a long narrow country covering a large distance from north to south, however, even in northern Hokkaido the number of days in which the temperature exceeds 30 degrees centigrade is increasing in summer.
日本は南北に距離のある細長い国ですが、北の北海道でも夏には30度を超す日が増えました。

In response to global warming, the amount of rainfall has been increasing. Typhoons have become bigger and more powerful.
温暖化を受けて雨の量が増えました。台風は大きく強くなっています。

In addition, typhoons used to arrive in late summer, but many have begun to hit the country in autumn, too.
また、夏の終わりに訪れるとされていた台風が、秋にもたくさん上陸するようになりました。

If this trend continues, it will be difficult to enjoy the autumn leaves, which used to be part of a typical autumn scene.
この傾向が続くと、秋の風物詩である紅葉が楽しめなくなる懸念も出てきました。

Furthermore, temperature rises in the sea could influence fish populations, and some people are predicting a shortage of ingredients for sushi in the near future.
さらには、海水の温度の上昇は魚の分布にも影響し、近い将来には寿司ネタが不足するという見方もあります。

The vegetable harvest has already been affected.
野菜の収穫にはすでに影響が出ています。

Meanwhile, there is hardly any show let in Shirakawa-go, a village that has been registered as a World Heritage site and is famed for its sleep-roofed houses and beautiful snowy scenery.
一方、世界遺産に登録されている白川郷集落は、合掌造りと雪景色でしられていますが、雪が積もらなくなってきています。

Similarly, there was little snow to be seen at the “Sapporo Snow Festival”, which is known for its rows of snow statutes.
同様に、雪の像が立ち並ぶ「さっぽろ雪まつり」でも雪不足が見られます。

A movement protesting against the irresponsibility of adults over environmental issues is growing worldwide.
世界では、環境問題に対する大人の無責任さへの抗議運動が拡大しています。

It’s been pointed out that though Japan has been blessed with four seasons, it lacks a sense of crisis.
日本は四季の恵みを受けているのに、危機感がないとの声が上がっています。

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