Friday, July 18, 2014

seishun (literally, "blue spring"), 青春

Today was our last day of school before summer break, and everyone was in fine spirits, anticipating what the coming month would bring.  I had an iced tea in my hand as I walked to the teacher staff room and the halls were chaotic.  Most students in our school are in clubs, and there are committees as well--the Culture Festival Committee, the Summer Camp Committee, the Student Council. . .They were manically running to and fro, and making me tired.  I wanted a moment's peace so I went out of the building and sat on the stone wall in front of our main entrance.

As I sat there people started to exit, their meetings finished.  Some of the seniors saw me with my iced tea and came over to say see you after the break.  They were talking a lot to each other, so hyped up as they were.  One of them said "Seishun!"  I didn't know why.  "Seishun!  How do I say 'seishun' in English?"

If it's the seishun that I'm thinking of, then adolescence would be the definition I learned some years ago.  I said, "Adolescence?" and no one reacted much.  "Do you mean like, your teen years?"

And then there was reaction.  They understood what I meant.  One of the girls told me that seishun can be one's teen years, but not necessarily so.  They went on to explain the kanji to me, which literally translates to "blue spring," aoi (青い) and haru (春)."  When I heard that, I thought they meant blue as in depressed, as in wedding blues, which is a common phrase in Japan (denoting the anxiety and regret that some newly married people feel after the ceremony).  But no, that wasn't what they meant.  They said that seishun
can be any time in your life that could be one of the best times in your life.

When I got home I Googled it and, along with the youth and adolescence definitions I also came across "the springtime of one's life."  I supposed that springtime is, naturally, the time of adolescence for many people, which is likely why those definitions come up so ubiquitously.  But I also appreciated that a group of teenagers today were reflective enough to say that, no, the springtime of a person's life can happen at any time.  

"Seishun" (also romanized as "Seisyun") was a 2007 single by the group Tokio.

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