Vocabs: What’s the weather today?

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As all three girls here are fans of Jpop idols Arashi (literally storm in Japanese), what better way then to learn about Japanese terms for weather?

This idea came about during the shiritori game. I think the was Saori? who said the word ‘arare’ and I had no idea what it was. Turns out that it’s hail/hailstones. Ahhh! So I’ve never really learnt about weather terms in detail. Just the few basic ones. Here comes google to the rescue. Then again… too much information isn’t really a good thing. This site gave a long list of 63 words that’s commonly used in weather reports. Scary! 63! I’ll pick a bunch from there, and add on a few random terms. As usual, definitions are from my favourite (I’m biased) jisho.org.

We’ll start with the easy, common words then go on to the more difficult/less common ones. At least, less common for people like us who don’t live in Japan and thus don’t listen to Japanese weather reports. Note that some words have meanings besides just the weather, I won’t discuss about those here.

天気 (てんき, tenki)
1. Weather; the elements
A very common word. You hear it all the time right? Especially during all those outdoor concerts.

天気予報 (てんきよほう, tenki yohou)
1. Weather forecast; weather report.
予報 (yohou) means forecast/prediction.

いい天気 (いいてんき, ii tenki)
1. Fine weather; fair weather.
We hear this often don’t we? The phrase literally means good weather, which means clear, sunny days to the Japanese. Which unfortunately, is not quite my definition of good weather…. 😛 Cool, windy days for me please! XD

晴れ (はれ, hare)
1. Clear weather; fine weather.
A more formal way of speaking as compared to いい天気.

雨 (あめ, ame)
1. Rain
You know this word right? The kanji isn’t that hard to remember either… see the four dots inside? Those represents rain droplets falling down. 雨… in Arashi song titles there’s Kansha Kangeki Ame Arashi and Modori Ame. In song lyrics… I’m quite sure it’s in a number of songs right?

風 (かぜ, kaze)
1. Wind; breeze; draught; draft.
Ah this! You MUST know this kanji too! Right? It’s the lower half of the word Arashi after all! And the reason why there’s the Yama pair and Kaze trio. Because Ohno and Sho are the older two, they are called the Yama (山) pair. Which as you can see, forms the top half of the word 嵐. Yama means mountain/hill by the way. 風 is the bottom part, so the three younger members were called the kaze trio. Again, so many songs with 風 in the lyrics. Guess that’s what you get with a group named 嵐 huh?

Note: 風 can also mean manner/behaviour, or cold/flu.

嵐 (あらし, You know how to pronounce this right?!?)
1. Storm; tempest.
We all know this already. Right? XD
Oh I just love that one scene, in that last part of a Tore episode where Jun guested on to promote 24 hr TV (if my memory doesn’t fail me). It’s like… they are given a category, as well as the first and last hiraganas of a three hiragana word, and they have to guess that word. It’s a race again time. The contestants are standing on a small ledge against the wall, and blocks in the wall open the way for you to move forward when you answer the question correctly. Behind you, blocks start moving out as time goes by – answer any slower and you’ll get pushed off. So it’s a race on who can keep themselves calm as much as it is on how intelligent they are. And then the question goes. あ(_)し, category: 天気. Jun was stumped for a while XD. It was so cute watching that moment XD. He certainly wasn’t expecting such a word to come out!

雲 (くも, kumo)
1. Cloud

曇り (くもり, kumori)
1. Cloudiness; cloudy weather; shadow.
2. Overcast.
Kumori, as in Ohno’s song ‘Kumori Nochi, Kaisei’, or ‘After the cloudiness, clear weather’. Speaking of kaisei…

快晴 (かいせい, kaisei)
1. Clear weather; cloudless weather; good weather.

雪 (ゆき, yuki)
1. Snow
Now this one is more commonly used. Snow! Either a delight for those of us living in the tropics… or the bane of those in temperate countries who have the deal with either slippery ice or dirty melting snow.

台風 (たいふう, taifuu)
1. Typhoon; hurricane.
You can probably guess the word from the pronunciation. After all, the English word for typhoon came from Persian and Chinese dialect, and the Japanese pronunciation of this same word is pretty similar to the Chinese dialect. And of course, if you say typhoon and Arashi, it has to be the song with a lovely opening by Nino right? Typhoon Generation.

雹 (ひょう, hyou)
1. Hail (esp. hailballs 5 mm or greater).

霰 (あられ, arare)
1. Hail (esp. hailballs under 5 mm); graupel.
As far as my little search could tell, both words have very similar meanings when it comes to talking about hail/hailstones. 霰 seems to be referring more to the hailstones though.

地震 (じしん, jishin)
1. Earthquake
Not to be confused with the other phrase with the same pronunciation, 自信. You heard Itou-san saying ‘jishin’ a lot in VSA; asking players if they have ‘jishin’. That’s 自信, meaning confident. Totally different things! XD

旋風 (せんぷう, senpuu)
1. Whirlwind.

海風 (かいふう, kaifuu)
1. Sea breeze
As you might know, 海 (umi) on it’s own means sea.

陸風 (りくふう, rikufuu)
1. Land breeze
陸 (riku) means land/shore. So similarly to 海風, you combine the two words with wind/風 to get sea or land breeze.

霧 (きり, kiri)
1. Fog; mist.

湿気 (しっけ, shikke)
1. Moisture; humidity; dampness.
気 (き, ki), as in 空気 (くうき, kuuki) means air. 湿 as in 湿る (しめる, shimeru) mean wet. Put together you have ‘wet air’, or moisture.

Side note. If you play games and they use the term ‘ki’, then it’s referring to 気, which also refers to spirit, amongst it’s long list of meanings.

湿度 (しつど, shitsudo)
1. Level of humidity.
Similar to the above. This time, ‘wet’ is put together with 度 (ど, do), which means degree (angle, temperature, scale, etc.), sort of like ‘level’. So level of wetness (in the air) – humidity.

気温 (きおん, kion)
1. Atmospheric temperature.
Ha there! The 気/ki word appears again. It means air here. 温 as in 温い (ぬるい, nurui) means warm.

気圧 (きあつ, kiatsu)
1. Atmospheric pressure.
Yet another air word. 圧 (atsu) means pressure/force. Straightforward enough 🙂

季節 (きせつ, kisetsu)
1. Season
Arashi uses this term quite often. Like when the season changes they would often mention it on shows. Or special segments related to that particular season…
季/ki means season on it’s own.
Don’t confuse kisetsu with kiseki! Kiseki/奇跡/きせき means miracle/wonder/marvel.

四季 (しき, shiki)
1. Four seasons.
四 (yon, or shi) means four.

春 (はる, haru)
1. Spring; springtime.

夏 (なつ, natsu)
1. Summer
Arashi has a number of songs about summer eh? Whether the word used in the title is ‘natsu’ or summer. Eg. Natsu no Owari ni Omou Koto, Natsu no namae, Summer splash, Itsuka no summer and Miracle Summer.

秋 (あき, aki)
1. Autumn; fall.

冬 (ふゆ, fuyu)
1. Winter.
Arashi has loads of winter songs as well! Winter/Christmas songs. Fuyu ga Hajimaru yo, Fuyu no Nioi, Fuyu wo Dakishimete are three obvious ones with ‘fuyu’ in their titles. Then there’s also songs like Futari no Kinenbi that’s talking about winter, and Chekku no Mafura (Checkered Muffler). And a barrage for Xmas songs ranging from Ano Hi no Merry Christmas, to Nino’s Merry Christmas, and finally Sho’s (perhaps slightly forgotten) Christmas Kyoku (Christmas song) that he sang and played on his radio show Shobeat. I like Christmas Kyoku some how, but I’ve been told by others that it sounds creepy… shrugs

Ok! That’s all the weather related terms that I’m going to talk about today. There are tons more in the site I mentioned at the start – all sorts of rain (heavy, drizzle, thunderstorms etc) and wind (strong winds, wind storms, seasonal wind) and other terms in there. Do take a look if you’re interested! Hope you’ll find this little collection of terms helpful!

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