Wednesday, February 1, 2006

who needs the weatherman?

I believe in the spirit of introducing American culture to my students, and so in one of my lessons yesterday I explained Groundhog Day. I told them how Mr. Groundhog wakes up from his long winter’s nap and comes outside to test the weather. I stressed the all-important role of the shadow and the incredibly accurate predictions for an early or late spring.

They nodded, thought for a minute, and then proceeded to tell me it’s kind of like a mostly forgotten Japanese holiday in March - the Day the Insects Come Out of the Ground. Keichitsu is one of the twenty-four seasonal divisions of the year. Officially, it is a fifteen day period starting when the insects exit their holes in the earth, followed by the blooming of peach blossoms, and ending when the caterpillers emerge as little white butterflies.

I then asked them to explain to me how a furry brown rodent being scared of his shadow has anything to do with insects preparing themselves for another season of invading my house. I didn’t get a good answer.

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