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This year is nearly over. For some people it was a great year, and for other people it wasn't. In Japan, an organization asked people for the word they thought described 2018. The winner was the word "disaster". The kanji (Chinese character) that people chose means "disaster or misfortune". The organization said this because of the many natural disasters in Japan in 2018. Japan was hit by typhoons, earthquakes, heavy rains, and a killer heatwave. Hundreds of people lost their lives in these disasters. Many roads and homes were destroyed.
The organization is the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation. It has found a "word of the year" annually since 1995. This year, 193,214 people chose a word. The second most popular word was "peace". Last year, "north" was the winner, because of tensions over North Korea's nuclear tests. The world was also hit by natural disasters, including wildfires, hurricanes and tsunami. Wars also raged in Syria and Yemen. There was also a lot of suffering because of immigration - people trying to move to other countries to find a better life. People hope next year's word will be "happiness".
Back to the disaster lesson.