Happy Strawberry Day ~ いちごの日

Happy Strawberry Day! Did you know that the official strawberry day of Japan is January 15th?

Photo by Flickr user Anna Peaches

It’s a play on the Japanese word for strawberry, which is “ichigo”. And if you’ve been practicing your Japanese, you know that the Japanese word for one is “ichi” and the Japanese word for five is “go”. 15 = ichi-go = strawberry!

But why January 15th? Wouldn’t that be ichi-ichi-go? That’s what I thought too! It’s actually a common misconception that January 5th is Strawberry Day. Well, it’s confusing because that too is Strawberry Day, but it doesn’t refer to the fruits.

It actually came about a while back, as an encouragement for young test takers. It was said to be a motivator for the students. And they became known as the “Strawberry Generation” which has nothing to do with the fruits, unfortunately.

So, when the National Strawberry Consumption Expansion Council decided to make a Strawberry Day, the perfect day was unfortunately already taken… Leaving the alternative January 15th, starting the tradition in the 80s. It should be known that the National Strawberry Consumption Expansion Council was dissolved in 2006, but its legacy lives on!

And there you have it. I hope you leave with a TIL moment. Perhaps eat a strawberry or a strawberry flavored something on this fine day. Between you and me, I’ll be indulging in my favorite strawberry Pocky.

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