March cold, April warm?

Lime.3dayswarm4dayscold_03-31-13Spring has been slow coming in 2013. Not one but two snowy Mondays in March, 40 degree temps far later than normal, and, for me, recurring colds and coughs.

This etegami pictures one of the many limes I squeezed into hot water or tea the last week, trying to calm my sore throat and cough. The words are 三寒四温 (sankan shion). It is a set phrase in Japanese that literally means three cold, four hot, with the implied meaning being “three days cold, four days warm.” The character for day, 日, is dropped from the phrase. This is a saying that some Japanese use to refer to the weather at the beginning and the end of winter.

I would like to take the liberty to reinterpret this phrase:  rather than saying “three days cold four days warm,” how about “March cold, April warm”? In Japanese the months are referred to by their numbers, with March literally being “third month” (三月) and April being “fourth month” (四月).


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