季節のあいさつ Seasonal greetings

[まえ]にも書[]きましたが、今週[こんしゅう]から3年生の日本語のクラスで手紙[てがみ]の書[]き方[かた]の勉強[べんきょう]を始[はじ]めました。今週[こんしゅう]は始[はじ]めたばかりなので、基本的[きほんてき]なルールを中心[ちゅうしん]に勉強[べんきょう]しています。教[おし]える時[とき]に先生にとってちょっと難[むずか]しいのが、前文[ぜんぶん] (zenbun is preliminary greetings )の書[]き方[かた]の説明[せつめい]です。日本語の丁寧[ていねい]な手紙[てがみ]ではまず前文[ぜんぶん]を書きます。前文[ぜんぶん]は、季節[きせつ]のあいさつを書[]いてから、相手[あいて]の安否[あんぴ]を尋[たず]ね、そして自分[じぶん]の安否[あんぴ]を伝[つた]えるのが普通[ふつう]です。例[たと]えば、今のニュージーランドだったら季節[きせつ]のあいさつは「紅葉[こうよう]の美[うつく]しい季節[きせつ]となりました」でしょうか。日本だったら「桜[さくら]の季節[きせつ]も終[]わり、さわやかな初夏[しょか]がやってきました」という感[かん]じでしょう。季節[きせつ]のあいさつのあとは、例[たと]えば「お元気ですか(=相手[あいて]の安否[あんぴ])。私も元気です(=自分[じぶん]の安否[あんぴ])。」と続[つづ]きます。

先生にとって難[むずか]しいのは、「どうしてそんなことを書[]かなければいけないのか」「本当[ほんとう]に書[]きたいことだけ書[]いてはいけないのか」と学生[がくせい]がよく質問[しつもん]するからです。この質問[しつもん]の簡単[かんたん]な答[こた]えは「習慣[しゅうかん] (shuukan is habit; custom )だから」ということになります。英語[えいご]でもこのような習慣[しゅうかん]はありますよ。例[たと]えば手紙[てがみ]ではなく会話[かいわ]ですけど、街[まち]で友[とも]だちや知[]り合[]いに会[]ったら「How are you?」と言[]うでしょう。”How the person is"を知[]りたくなくても言[]いますよね。それは、習慣[しゅうかん]だからですよね。
 
日本語で上手[じょうず]に季節[きせつ]のあいさつが書[]けると、いい印象[いんしょう]をあたえること、間違[まちが]いなし、です。また、会話[かいわ]でも日本人はあいさつとしてよく季節[きせつ]のはなしをしますよ。機会[きかい]があれば、日本人の会話[かいわ]を聞[]いて、どんな風[ふう]に話[はな]しているか観察[かんさつ]してみてください。
 
As mentioned before, we started studying how to write Japanese letters in our third year Japanese class this week. We just started, so at the moment we mainly study the basic rules. One of the toughest matters for teachers in this subject is how to explain about preliminary greetings. We normally give preliminary greetings in a polite Japanese letter and it consists normally of seasonal greetings, asking the receiver’s health, and reporting the sender’s own condition.  For example, you could write something like “we enjoy beautiful red and yellow leaves now” in New Zealand and “Cherry blossom has completely disappeared and we now enjoy pleasant early summary weather” in Japan. Then these seasonal greetings follow by the phrases like “How are you? I’m fine.”
 
Why is this tough for the teachers? – because students often ask why we have to write these. The simplest answer to this question would be – it is because this is Japanese custom! You would do the similar things in English too. This example is something in conversation (not in letter-writing situation) though, you would say “how are you” when you see somebody you know in town; you say this even when you are not interested in how the person is at all. Why do you do this? – it is because this is the custom you should follow.
 
If you manage to write good seasonal greetings in Japanese, you definitely impress your Japanese friends! Japanese people often bring up seasonal things, weather and so on as greetings in conversation as well. If you have a chance, please listen to Japanese people’s conversation and observe how they talk about seasonal stuff!

2 thoughts on “季節のあいさつ Seasonal greetings”

  • Fumiko Nishimura
    Fumiko Nishimura says:

    Thank you for your comment! Business letters have slightly different protocol, but still you normally should use all sorts of set phrases which is unrelated to the main topic… but once you get used to it, it is easy!

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