Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A hot year

Every December in Japan around this time the kanji (Chinese character) of the year is chosen. With great ceremony the character is painted on a large sheet of paper by a priest in front of one of Kyoto's famous temples as the chosen kanji is revealed. This year it is the character 暑 which is used for 'hot', as in summer heat, which has been chosen to be the kanji of the year, having received by far the highest number of votes. The main reason is for this character being number one for 2010 is the record-breaking heatwaves over the summer which saw numerous people succumbing to heatstroke. Another reason put forward was the rescue of the Chile miners from the underground heat in which they found themselves for these long weeks of waiting. The effects of global warming were also mentioned. As the kanji for the year is chosen just before Christmas, it has often been perfect for an illustration in a Christmas message. So in recent years we have had characters for 'love', 'life' and 'new' among others. Perfect for a lead-in to a Christmas message. This year's choice does not seem to give so much scope - we'll see.

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