April Supermoon Brings Joy Amongst Uncertainty in Japan

Source: Gaijin Pot

On Tuesday night, the universe graced us with a supermoon—a full moon bigger and brighter than usual. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the moon gave us a chance to look at up the sky and forget earthly matters for a short while.

Moon viewing

Traditionally, Japanese folks hold autumn festivals called 月見(つきみ) (literally “moon-viewing”) honoring this celestial body around September and October. Very much like with cherry blossom viewing, the Japanese like to contemplate the fleeting beauty of the full moon. After all, we’re talking about a culture which translated “I love you” with the graceful expression “the moon is beautiful tonight, isn’t it” (月(つき)が綺麗(きれい)ですね ).

Thirty years from now when I’m asked, ‘Grandpa, what was it like when the state of emergency was announced?’ I’ll be able to say, ‘On that day, there was a beautiful moon.’

Life is beautiful and short, like a passing moon or cherry blossom. And so is a supermoon, an occurrence that happens only a few times per year. During this time, the full moon’s elliptical orbit comes 40,000 km closer to earth, or a mere 356,907 km jump away.

Coincidentally, the first supermoon of the year took place the day Prime Minister Shinzo Abe finally announced a month-long state of emergency for seven prefectures. The next big moon on May 7 should hopefully mark the end of the emergency period.

Maybe you can add stargazing to your stay-at-home activities.

Let us forget for a brief moment

Despite Japan’s urban light pollution, the incredible luminosity and beauty of the supermoon managed to cheer us all up a bit. From bad camera shots to professional photography, people shared pictures of what the moon looked like on social media. It was a way to remind us that not everything is about the pandemic and that life goes on.

Hopefully, decades from now, …continue reading