Three Cold Four Warm

by

Comments from friends about the peculiar weather in Seattle this year triggered a decision to mention a saying in Japanese: San Kan Shi On (三寒四温)

The kanji characters are: Three, Cold, Four, and Warm. They come from a Chinese saying and indicate a feeling that as winter comes to an end we go through a cycle of three cold days followed by four warm days. The generally feeling is that the weather gradually warms up to summer, with temporary downswings; however, I think most people consider the literal meaning to be scientific fact.

When someone mentions any particularly warm or cold day I like to throw out this phrase. Mouths drop as they wonder why a foreigner knows such a thing, but when I suggest that the previous week really had five warmer days and two colder, I receive a quick correction. Clearly, I had made some mistake. 😉

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