Don’t be fooled by the Japanese calendar, and don’t forget your umbrella!

Old world Japanese customs can be found in day-to-day life. Whether you’re enjoying a meal, exploring the city, or just relaxing, you can find the good old customs of Japan.
Take a moment and find your Japanese calendar. You’ll find a word written in Kanji next to the number of the month.
Those are the names of the months in the Japanese lunar calendar. Each month has its own unique name that represents the beauty of each of the four seasons.
Today we are going to look into the origins of June on the lunar calendar. Let’s find a way to enjoy this damp and rainy season.

竹下通り傘


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Going into June means that the damp and rainy season is just around the corner in Japan!
Did you know that in Japan, June has another name? It is called “Minazuki” (水無月) and translates as, “the month with no water”. “Mizu” (水) means water, “Nai” (無) means none, and “tsuki” (月) means month. June is basically the rainy season, so why do we refer to it as “Minazuki”, the month with no water?

みずたまり

Minazuki is actually not a month without water.

Before the Gregorian calendar was introduced to Japan, the 6th month of the year was called Minazuki, and it was the month to start filling the rice fields with water.
As everyone knows, June is the “month of water” in Japan.

青田

However, the question of the word “no” still remains.
The key to the origin of “Minazuki” is actually in this word.
In fact, the “no” is an adnominal particle that plays the role of a possessive particle that connects the nouns.
So, in this case, “no” means “of”.
Therefore “Minazuki” is recognized as, “the month of water”.

Hold on! Minazuki may actually be a month without water!

There are actually several theories regarding the origin of “Minazuki”.
Earlier, I said that Minazuki corresponds with June on the lunar calendar.
To be precise, June on the lunar calendar corresponds to the time between the beginning of July and the beginning of August (on the Gregorian calendar).
In other words, “Minazuki” was a period of summer when it was hot and not the rainy season.
Then maybe, “Minazuki” was a month without water after all.

青空に傘

Well, no matter what the origin is, June in Japan does have a lot of rain, making the atmosphere humid and damp, which I’m sure a lot of you dislike.
However, if we can enjoy the hidden meanings in “Minazuki”, it may be a way to enjoy Japan.
Finally, don’t forget your umbrella or you’ll get soaked!
Even if you do forget your umbrella, you can purchase one anywhere in Japan at a very reasonable price. After all, Japan is a country that regards umbrellas as expendables.

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AUTHOR

Tadaima Japan Editorial Team

Tadaima Japan Editorial Team

Tadaima Japan Editorial Team

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