Go Go Nihongo! Volume #19: Zoro Zoro

Article by Akiko Nishio / Translated by Michelle Tan

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I trust all of you had a good break the previous month! As we start to regain our momentum to face the year 2020 with full motivation (and equally full bellies!), the long-awaited arrival of spring is about to make its presence felt in Japan. 

Today, let’s talk about “zoro zoro”. This is what we use to refer to people or animals moving slowly in a line. Like ants carrying food to their nests in a military-straight line, or fluffy sheep like cotton candy clouds plodding along their shepherd’s side… Or even weary office workers and salarymen getting off trains at a busy station, heading towards the exit in search of a hot meal and a cool drink. 

Zoro zoro” is also used to describe fabric dragging on the floor, like a skirt or pair of pants that’s too long. Imagine a child playing dress-up, borrowing her mother’s skirt and secretly wearing it all around the house! 

As you’re reading this, it’s almost springtime in Japan. When the cold season comes to and end, flowers start to bloom again, and insects come out of their hiding places. More people will also be more willing to leave the warm confines of their homes, gathering outdoors for cherry blossom-viewings or back-to-school ceremonies.

Soon, Japan will be filled with life again, as people and creatures alike go outside in “zoro zoro” fashion. 

Akiko Nishio is the principal of A to Z Language Centre, with over 20 years of experience in teaching Japanese. She has a soft spot for good books, travelling, and ice-cold beer.  

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