05m 00s

"Steam Locomotive in Iwate Prefecture Begins Final Season of Operation"

Learn Japanese from the News

Broadcast on May 8, 2023 Available until May 7, 2024

Welcome to "Learn Japanese from the News." In this program we learn Japanese and more about Japan from news stories presented in simple Japanese. Today's headline is "Steam Locomotive in Iwate Prefecture Begins Final Season of Operation" which was published on NEWS WEB EASY's website on March 28, 2023. Keywords include「岩手県(いわてけん)Iwate ken」"Iwate Prefecture" and「出発の式(しゅっぱつのしき)shuppatsu no shiki」"departure ceremony."



"Steam Locomotive in Iwate Prefecture Begins Final Season of Operation"

Welcome to "Learn Japanese from the News."
Join us as we learn Japanese and about the country through Japanese news stories. Today's headline is…

岩手県(いわてけん)を走(はし)る「SL銀河(ぎんが)」 今年(ことし)が最後(さいご)の運転(うんてん)
"Steam Locomotive in Iwate Prefecture Begins Final Season of Operation"
This news story was published on NEWS WEB EASY's website on March 28th.
Now, let's go over some vocab words that will help us understand what's going on.
Iwate Prefecture, which is located in Japan's northeastern region of Tohoku.
departure ceremony
Let's keep these words in mind as we listen.
This story is about a steam locomotive in Iwate Prefecture that was introduced to help revitalize areas affected by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. It recently kicked off its last season of operation with a special departure ceremony at Hanamaki Station.

Now we'll break down a few sentences from the story that contain helpful expressions and keywords.
Let's start with the following sentence:
A steam locomotive called SL Ginga has been running between JR's Hanamaki and Kamaishi stations in Iwate Prefecture since 2014.
The SL in SL銀河(ぎんが)stands for "steam locomotive," which is a type of train that's powered by a steam engine.
Here in Japan, they were phased out of regular service about 50 years ago. The ones that remain are either operated as sightseeing trains or preserved and exhibited as historical artifacts.
The word 銀河(ぎんが)refers to galaxies in general or the Milky Way.
The SL Ginga is named after a classic Japanese children's fantasy tale called 銀河鉄道(ぎんがてつどう)の夜(よる), or "Night on the Milky Way Train." It was written by the author Miyazawa Kenji, a native of Hanamaki city.
The train travels about 90 kilometers between 花巻駅(はなまきえき)and 釜石駅(かまいしえき), two major railway stations in Iwate Prefecture. It was introduced in 2014 to raise people's spirits and support recovery efforts after the 2011 earthquake.

OK, let's move on to our next sentence.
Operations for this year started on March 25th. A departure ceremony was held at Hanamaki Station.
The word 式(しき)describes a fixed method or style of doing something. It can also refer to a ceremony conducted according to a set of prescribed procedures. For example, 結婚式(けっこんしき)means "wedding." 卒業式(そつぎょうしき)means "graduation ceremony."
In Japanese society it's common to hold ceremonies to mark important milestones. Schools hold 入学式(にゅうがくしき)— entrance ceremonies for their new first-year students.

And that's all we have for today.
It's sad that this is its final season, but I imagine that over the years it's given people a lifetime of memories that they will never forget.
Indeed. Be sure to tune in next time for more!

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