The Reading / Listening - Cherry Blossoms - Level 3

Cherry blossoms in Kyoto, Japan have bloomed at their earliest date in 600 years. Researchers from Osaka University say blossoms in the city of Kyoto peaked on the 26th of March. The previous record for Kyoto was set in 1409, when the season reached its peak on the 27th of March. Data on cherry blossoms blooming in Kyoto go back 1,200 years. As far back as the year 812, officials at Japan's imperial court in Kyoto wrote details on the blooms in documents and diaries. Japan experienced much warmer weather in the first few months of this year. Meteorologists say this is because of climate change. They say many plants are flowering and blossoming earlier than normal because of global warming.



Cherry blossoms are an important part of Japanese culture. People keep a close eye on the news of blossoming times from forecasts made by the Japanese Meteorological Agency. The blossoms are called "sakura" in Japan. Many people plan trips to famous cherry blossom areas and spend hours having picnics under the sakura. The cherry blossoms also provide Japan with an important economic boost each spring. People come from all over the world to view them. Japan's Mainichi newspaper explained the importance of sakura. It wrote: "Sakura has deeply influenced Japanese culture for centuries. It has regularly been used in poetry and literature. Their fragility is seen as a symbol of life, death and rebirth."

Try the same news story at these easier levels:

    Cherry Blossoms - Level 0 Cherry Blossoms - Level 1   or  Cherry Blossoms - Level 2

Sources
  • https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20210331/p2g/00m/0na/038000c
  • https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-56574142
  • https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/climate-change-japan-cherry-blossoms-b1824373.html


Make sure you try all of the online activities for this reading and listening - There are dictations, multiple choice, drag and drop activities, crosswords, hangman, flash cards, matching activities and a whole lot more. Please enjoy :-)



Warm-ups

1. CHERRY BLOSSOMS: Students walk around the class and talk to other students about cherry blossoms. Change partners often and share your findings.
2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, talk about these topics or words from the article. What will the article say about them? What can you say about these words and your life?
       cherry blossoms / researchers / Kyoto / record / season / peak / weather / climate /
       important / culture / news / forecast / picnics / boost / trips / literature / life / death
Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.
3. CLIMATE CHANGE: Students A strongly believe we can reverse climate change; Students B strongly believe we can't. Change partners again and talk about your conversations.
4. CULTURE: What part do flowers play in the culture of your country? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners often and share what you wrote.

 

What Flowers?

Their Part in Your Culture

Music

 

 

Literature

 

 

Social activities

 

 

Food

 

 

Seasons

 

 

Celebrations

 

 

MY e-BOOK
ESL resource book with copiable worksheets and handouts - 1,000 Ideas and Activities for Language Teachers / English teachers
See a sample

5. PEAK: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word "peak". Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.
6. BLOOMS: Rank these with your partner. Put the best at the top. Change partners often and share your rankings.

  • Cherry blossoms
  • Roses
  • Orchids
  • Lotus flowers
  • Lilies
  • Daffodils
  • Plum blossoms
  • Sunflowers

 

Vocabulary

    Paragraph 1

      1. bloomed a. Existing or occurring before in time or order.
      2. blossom b. The warming of the global weather.
      3. peaked c. The action of a flower or blossom opening.
      4. previous d. Reached a highest point, either of a value or at a set time.
      5. officials e. A flower or a group of flowers, especially on a tree or bush.
      6. meteorologist f. People having a job in government or as a representative of an organization.
      7. climate change g. A weather forecaster.

    Paragraph 2

      8. keep a close eye on h. A prediction or estimate of future events, especially coming weather or a financial trend.
      9. forecast i. Make available for use; supply.
      10. provide j. Hundreds of years.
      11. boost k. Watch closely.
      12. influenced l. Being easily broken or damaged.
      13. centuries m. Changed something.
      14. fragility n. Help or encourage something to increase or improve.

 

Before reading / listening

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if 1-8 below are true (T) or false (F).

  1. Cherry blossoms last bloomed so early in the year 600.     T / F
  2. The last record for early blooming cherry blossoms was set in 1409.     T / F
  3. Officials in Japan wrote details about cherry blossoms in the year 812.     T / F
  4. Meteorologists say climate change is not why cherry blossoms are early.   T / F
  5. Japanese people keep a close eye on cherry blossom forecasts.     T / F
  6. People in Japan spend hours having picnics under sakura trees.     T / F
  7. Cherry blossoms are very bad for Japan's economy.     T / F
  8. Cherry blossoms are a symbol of life and death in Japan.     T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article.

  1. bloomed
  2. previous
  3. experienced
  4. meteorologists
  5. normal
  6. keep a close eye on
  7. famous
  8. boost
  9. regularly
  10. symbol
  1. well known
  2. usual
  3. watch
  4. frequently
  5. flowered
  6. uplift
  7. weather forecasters
  8. earlier
  9. sign
  10. encountered

3. PHRASE MATCH: (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

  1. The previous record for Kyoto was
  2. As far back as
  3. documents
  4. They say many plants
  5. blossoming earlier than normal because
  6. Cherry blossoms are an important part
  7. People keep a close
  8. spend hours having
  9. an important economic
  10. Their fragility is seen as
  1. of Japanese culture
  2. are flowering
  3. boost
  4. and diaries
  5. eye on the news
  6. set in 1409
  7. picnics under the sakura
  8. of global warming
  9. a symbol of life
  10. the year 812

Gap fill

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
far
peaked
first
earliest
warming
details
change
set

Cherry blossoms in Kyoto, Japan have bloomed at their (1) _____________________ date in 600 years. Researchers from Osaka University say blossoms in the city of Kyoto (2) _____________________ on the 26th of March. The previous record for Kyoto was (3) _____________________ in 1409, when the season reached its peak on the 27th of March. Data on cherry blossoms blooming in Kyoto go back 1,200 years. As (4) _____________________ back as the year 812, officials at Japan's imperial court in Kyoto wrote (5) _____________________ on the blooms in documents and diaries. Japan experienced much warmer weather in the (6) _____________________ few months of this year. Meteorologists say this is because of climate (7) _____________________. They say many plants are flowering and blossoming earlier than normal because of global (8) _____________________.

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
times
view
hours
regularly
culture
trips
life
boost

Cherry blossoms are an important part of Japanese (9) _____________________. People keep a close eye on the news of blossoming (10) _____________________ from forecasts made by the Japanese Meteorological Agency. The blossoms are called "sakura" in Japan. Many people plan (11) _____________________ to famous cherry blossom areas and spend (12) _____________________ having picnics under the sakura. The cherry blossoms also provide Japan with an important economic (13) _____________________ each spring. People come from all over the world to (14) _____________________ them. Japan's Mainichi newspaper explained the importance of sakura. It wrote: "Sakura has deeply influenced Japanese culture for centuries. It has (15) _____________________ been used in poetry and literature. Their fragility is seen as a symbol of (16) _____________________, death and rebirth."

Listening — Guess the answers. Listen to check.

1) Cherry blossoms in Kyoto, Japan have bloomed at ______
     a.  them earliest date
     b.  theirs earliest date
     c.  there earliest date
     d.  their earliest date
2)  The previous record for Kyoto was set in 1409, when the season ______
     a.  reached its perk
     b.  reached its peck
     c.  reached its peak
     d.  reached its poak
3)  Japan's imperial court in Kyoto wrote details on the blooms in ______
     a.  document and diaries
     b.  documents and diary
     c.  documents and diaries
     d.  document and diary
4)  Japan experienced much warmer weather in the ______
     a.  first few months
     b.  first flew months
     c.  first phew months
     d.  first foo months
5)  They say many plants are flowering and blossoming ______
     a.  earlier that normal
     b.  earlier than normal
     c.  earlier them normal
     d.  earlier thank normal

6)  People keep a close eye on the news of blossoming ______
     a.  time from forecasts
     b.  times from forecasts
     c.  times for forecasts
     d.  times frame forecasts
7)  trips to famous cherry blossom areas and spend ______
     a.  hours having picnics
     b.  hours have in picnics
     c.  hours heaving picnics
     d.  hours halving picnics
8)  The cherry blossoms also provide Japan with an important ______
     a.  economic beast
     b.  economic boost
     c.  economic boast
     d.  economic baste
9)  It has regularly been used ______ literature
     a.  in poet tree and
     b.  in poetry and
     c.  in poet try and
     d.  in poet tray and
10)  Their fragility is seen as a symbol of life, ______
     a.  death and the birth
     b.  death and a birth
     c.  death and rib birth
     d.  death and rebirth

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

Cherry blossoms in Kyoto, Japan have (1) ____________________ earliest date in 600 years. Researchers from Osaka University say blossoms in the city of Kyoto (2) ____________________ 26th of March. The previous record for Kyoto was set in 1409, when (3) ____________________ its peak on the 27th of March. Data on cherry blossoms blooming in Kyoto go back 1,200 years. As (4) ____________________ the year 812, officials at Japan's imperial court in Kyoto wrote details on the blooms in documents and diaries. Japan experienced much warmer weather in the (5) ____________________ of this year. Meteorologists say this is because of climate change. They say many plants are flowering and blossoming (6) ____________________ because of global warming.

Cherry blossoms are (7) ____________________ of Japanese culture. People keep a (8) ____________________ the news of blossoming times from forecasts made by the Japanese Meteorological Agency. The blossoms are called "sakura" in Japan. Many people (9) ____________________ famous cherry blossom areas and spend hours having picnics under the sakura. The cherry blossoms also provide Japan with an important (10) ____________________ spring. People come from all over the world to view them. Japan's Mainichi newspaper explained the importance of sakura. It wrote: "Sakura has deeply influenced Japanese (11) ____________________. It has regularly been used in poetry and literature. Their fragility is seen as a (12) ____________________, death and rebirth."

Comprehension questions

  1. Which Japanese city is mentioned in the article?
  2. When was the previous record for the earliest cherry-blossoms?
  3. What year do cherry blossom records go back to in a Japanese city?
  4. What did officials write details of cherry blossoms in?
  5. What reason did meteorologists give for the earlier flowering blossoms?
  6. What does the article say cherry blossoms are an important part of?
  7. What do people in Japan keep a close eye on?
  8. What do Japanese people spend hours doing under cherry blossoms?
  9. Where does a newspaper say cherry blossoms have been regularly used?
  10. What does the newspaper say fragile cherry blossoms are a symbol of?




Multiple choice quiz

1) Which Japanese city is mentioned in the article?
a) Osaka
b) Tokyo
c) Kyoto
d) Sapporo
2) When was the previous record for the earliest cherry-blossoms?
a) in 1409
b) in 1904
c) in 1049
d) in 1094
3) What year do cherry blossom records go back to in a Japanese city?
a) the year 812
b) the year 1094
c) the year 1200
d) the year 600
4) What did officials write details of cherry blossoms in?
a) newspapers
b) documents and diaries
c) poems and novels
d) government records
5) What reason did meteorologists give for the earlier flowering blossoms?
a) fewer tourists
b) extra busy bees
c) more sunlight
d) climate change

6) What does the article say cherry blossoms are an important part of?
a) nature
b) Japanese culture
c) Japanese painting
d) Japanese cuisine
7) What do people in Japan keep a close eye on?
a) the news of blossoming times
b) their wallets
c) birds
d) glasses
8) What do Japanese people spend hours doing under cherry blossoms?
a) collecting cherry-blossom petals
b) staying out of the sun
c) having picnics
d) sleeping
9) Where does a newspaper say cherry blossoms have been regularly used?
a) in paintings and drawings
b) in cooking
c) in Japanese medicine
d) in poetry and literature

10) What does the newspaper say fragile cherry blossoms are a symbol of?
a) life, death and rebirth
b) Earth
c) success
d) beauty and kindness

Role play

Role  A – Cherry Blossoms
You think cherry blossoms are the best blooms. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their flowers. Also, tell the others which is the worst of these (and why): roses, sunflowers or lotus flowers.

Role  B – Roses
You think roses are the best blooms. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their flowers. Also, tell the others which is the worst of these (and why): cherry blossoms, sunflowers or lotus flowers.

Role  C – Sunflowers
You think sunflowers are the best blooms. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their flowers. Also, tell the others which is the worst of these (and why): roses, cherry blossoms or lotus flowers.

Role  D – Lotus Flowers
You think lotus flowers are the best blooms. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their flowers. Also, tell the others which is the worst of these (and why): roses, sunflowers or cherry blossoms.

After reading / listening

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words...

'cherry'

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • and 'blossom'.

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • • Share your findings with your partners.

    • Make questions using the words you found.

    • Ask your partner / group your questions.

    2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

    •Share your questions with other classmates / groups. •Ask your partner / group your questions.

    3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

    4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

    5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

    • earliest
    • city
    • season
    • 812
    • warmer
    • normal
    • part
    • called
    • boost
    • view
    • deeply
    • symbol




    Student survey

    Write five GOOD questions about this topic in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper. When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

    (Please look at page 12 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

    Discussion - Cherry Blossoms

    STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

    1. What did you think when you read the headline?
    2. What images are in your mind when you hear the word 'blossom'?
    3. What do you think of cherry blossoms?
    4. Why do people love cherry blossoms?
    5. What are your favourite blossoms?
    6. What do you know about the Japanese city of Kyoto?
    7. What blossoms and flowers are important in your country's culture?
    8. How important are flowers?
    9. How is climate change affecting plants?
    10. What three adjectives best describe cherry blossoms?

    STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

    1. Did you like reading this article? Why/not?
    2. What do you think of when you hear the word 'Japan'?
    3. What do you think about what you read?
    4. Why do you think cherry blossoms are so important in Japan?
    5. What do you think of picnics to view cherry blossoms?
    6. What flowers are a symbol of life and death?
    7. What flowers do you look forward to seeing in spring?
    8. What do you think cherry blossoms symbolize?
    9. What flowers around the world would you like to go and see?
    10. What questions would you like to ask the researchers?

    Discussion — Write your own questions

    STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

    (a) ________________

    (b) ________________

    (c) ________________

    (d) ________________

    (e) ________________

    STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

    (f) ________________

    (g) ________________

    (h) ________________

    (i) ________________

    (j) ________________





    Language — Cloze (Gap-fill)

    Cherry blossoms in Kyoto, Japan have bloomed (1) ____ their earliest date in 600 years. Researchers from Osaka University say blossoms in the city of Kyoto (2) ____ on the 26th of March. The (3) ____ record for Kyoto was set in 1409, when the season reached its peak on the 27th of March. Data on cherry blossoms blooming in Kyoto (4) ____ back 1,200 years. As far back as the year 812, officials at Japan's imperial court in Kyoto wrote details on the blooms in documents and diaries. Japan experienced much warmer weather (5) ____ the first few months of this year. Meteorologists say this is because of climate change. They say many plants are (6) ____ and blossoming earlier than normal because of global warming.

    Cherry blossoms are an important part (7) ____ Japanese culture. People keep a close eye on the news of blossoming times from forecasts made by the Japanese Meteorological Agency. The blossoms are (8) ____ "sakura" in Japan. Many people plan trips to famous cherry blossom areas and spend hours having picnics under the sakura. The cherry blossoms (9) ____ provide Japan with an important economic boost each spring. People come from all over the world to (10) ____ them. Japan's Mainichi newspaper explained the importance of sakura. It wrote: "Sakura has (11) ____ influenced Japanese culture for centuries. It has regularly been used in poetry and literature. Their fragility is seen (12) ____ a symbol of life, death and rebirth."

    Which of these words go in the above text?

    1. (a)     on     (b)     at     (c)     of     (d)     to    
    2. (a)     poked     (b)     peaked     (c)     parked     (d)     perked    
    3. (a)     following     (b)     post     (c)     previously     (d)     previous    
    4. (a)     do     (b)     go     (c)     have     (d)     come    
    5. (a)     in     (b)     at     (c)     so     (d)     of    
    6. (a)     flowers     (b)     floral     (c)     flowering     (d)     flowered    
    7. (a)     to     (b)     as     (c)     of     (d)     from    
    8. (a)     calling     (b)     call     (c)     called     (d)     calls    
    9. (a)     plus     (b)     additional     (c)     and     (d)     also    
    10. (a)     view     (b)     look     (c)     viewer     (d)     looking    
    11. (a)     deeply     (b)     depth     (c)     deepen     (d)     depend    
    12. (a)     has     (b)     was     (c)     as     (d)     this

    Spelling

    Paragraph 1

    1. medbolo at their earliest date
    2. blossoms in the city of Kyoto edepka
    3. The eruivspo record
    4. offcsiail at Japan's imperial court
    5. doutmcnes and diaries
    6. this is because of tacleim change

    Paragraph 2

    1. blossoming times from afrcsseto
    2. an important omieocnc boost
    3. explained the aomtrcinpe of sakura
    4. fdelcinnue Japanese culture for centuries
    5. used in poetry and rateeirult
    6. Their fgrtaiiyl is seen as a symbol

    Put the text back together

    1  ) Cherry blossoms in Kyoto, Japan have bloomed at their earliest date in 600 years. Researchers from
    (...)  are flowering and blossoming earlier than normal because of global warming.
    (...)  used in poetry and literature. Their fragility is seen as a symbol of life, death and rebirth."
    (...)  back 1,200 years. As far back as the year 812, officials at Japan's imperial court in Kyoto wrote
    (...)  record for Kyoto was set in 1409, when the season reached its peak on the 27th of March. Data on cherry blossoms blooming in Kyoto go
    (...)  on the news of blossoming times from forecasts made by the Japanese Meteorological Agency. The blossoms are called
    (...)  Osaka University say blossoms in the city of Kyoto peaked on the 26th of March. The previous
    (...)  details on the blooms in documents and diaries. Japan experienced much warmer weather in the first few
    (...)  the importance of sakura. It wrote: "Sakura has deeply influenced Japanese culture for centuries. It has regularly been
    (...)  months of this year. Meteorologists say this is because of climate change. They say many plants
    (...)  picnics under the sakura. The cherry blossoms also provide Japan with an important economic
    (...)  "sakura" in Japan. Many people plan trips to famous cherry blossom areas and spend hours having
    (...)  Cherry blossoms are an important part of Japanese culture. People keep a close eye
    (...)  boost each spring. People come from all over the world to view them. Japan's Mainichi newspaper explained

    Put the words in the right order

    1. years   .   earliest   in   Bloomed   600   at   their   date
    2. Kyoto   set   1409   .   record   The   previous   in   was
    3. 812   .   As   far   year   back   as   the
    4. weather   Warmer   the   in   few   months   .   first
    5. global   because   warming  .  than   earlier   normal   Blossoming   of
    6. are   part   an   Japanese   of   Blossoms   culture   .   important
    7. eye   the   People   keep   on   close   news   .   a
    8. trips   areas   .   plan   People   cherry   blossom   to   famous
    9. has   for   influenced  deeply   centuries  .  Sakura  Japanese   culture
    10. in   has   been   poetry   .   regularly   It   used

    Circle the correct word (20 pairs)

    Cherry blossoms in Kyoto, Japan have blooming / bloomed at their earliest date in 600 years. Researchers from Osaka University say blossoms in the city of Kyoto poked / peaked on the 26th of March. The previous / previously record for Kyoto was set in 1409, when the season reached its peak / pack on the 27th of March. Data on cherry blossoms blooming in Kyoto come / go back 1,200 years. As far back as the year 812, officials at Japan's imperial judge / court in Kyoto wrote details on the blooms in documents and diary / diaries. Japan experienced much warmer weather in the first few months of this year. Meteorologists say this is / be because of climate change. They say many plants are flowering and blossoming earlier that / than normal because of global / globally warming.

    Cherry blossoms are an important / importance part of Japanese culture. People keep a close eye / see on the news of blossoming times from forecasts / forecast made by the Japanese Meteorological Agency. The blossoms are called "sakura" in Japan. Many people plan falls / trips to famous cherry blossom areas and spend hours doing / having picnics under the sakura. The cherry blossoms also provide Japan for / with an important economic boast / boost each spring. People come from all over the world to view them. Japan's Mainichi newspaper explained the importance of sakura. It wrote: "Sakura has deeply / deep influenced Japanese culture for centuries. It has regularly been used in poetry / poem and literature. Their fragility is seen has / as a symbol of life, death and rebirth."

    Talk about the connection between each pair of words in italics, and why the correct word is correct.

    Insert the vowels (a, e, i, o, u)

    Ch_rry bl_ss_ms _n Ky_t_, J_p_n h_v_ bl__m_d _t th__r __rl__st d_t_ _n 600 y__rs. R_s__rch_rs fr_m _s_k_ _n_v_rs_ty s_y bl_ss_ms _n th_ c_ty _f Ky_t_ p__k_d _n th_ 26th _f M_rch. Th_ pr_v___s r_c_rd f_r Ky_t_ w_s s_t _n 1409, wh_n th_ s__s_n r__ch_d _ts p__k _n th_ 27th _f M_rch. D_t_ _n ch_rry bl_ss_ms bl__m_ng _n Ky_t_ g_ b_ck 1,200 y__rs, _s f_r b_ck _s th_ y__r 812, _ff_c__ls _t J_p_n's _mp_r__l c__rt _n Ky_t_ wr_t_ d_t__ls _n th_ bl__ms _n d_c_m_nts _nd d__r__s. J_p_n _xp_r__nc_d m_ch w_rm_r w__th_r _n th_ f_rst f_w m_nths _f th_s y__r. M_t__r_l_g_sts s_y th_s _s b_c__s_ _f cl_m_t_ ch_ng_. Th_y s_y m_ny pl_nts _r_ fl_w_r_ng _nd bl_ss_m_ng __rl__r th_n n_rm_l b_c__s_ _f gl_b_l w_rm_ng.

    Ch_rry bl_ss_ms _r_ _n _mp_rt_nt p_rt _f J_p_n_s_ c_lt_r_. P__pl_ k__p _ cl_s_ _y_ _n th_ n_ws _f bl_ss_m_ng t_m_s fr_m f_r_c_sts m_d_ by th_ J_p_n_s_ M_t__r_l_g_c_l _g_ncy. Th_ bl_ss_ms _r_ c_ll_d "s_k_r_" _n J_p_n. M_ny p__pl_ pl_n tr_ps t_ f_m__s ch_rry bl_ss_m _r__s _nd sp_nd h__rs h_v_ng p_cn_cs _nd_r th_ s_k_r_. Th_ ch_rry bl_ss_ms _ls_ pr_v_d_ J_p_n w_th _n _mp_rt_nt _c_n_m_c b__st __ch spr_ng. P__pl_ c_m_ fr_m _ll _v_r th_ w_rld t_ v__w th_m. J_p_n's M__n_ch_ n_wsp_p_r _xpl__n_d th_ _mp_rt_nc_ _f s_k_r_. _t wr_t_: "S_k_r_ h_s d__ply _nfl__nc_d J_p_n_s_ c_lt_r_ f_r c_nt_r__s. _t h_s r_g_l_rly b__n _s_d _n p__try _nd l_t_r_t_r_. Th__r fr_g_l_ty _s s__n _s _ symb_l _f l_f_, d__th _nd r_b_rth."

    Punctuate the text and add capitals

    cherry blossoms in kyoto japan have bloomed at their earliest date in 600 years researchers from osaka university say blossoms in the city of kyoto peaked on the 26th of march the previous record for kyoto was set in 1409 when the season reached its peak on the 27th of march data on cherry blossoms blooming in kyoto go back 1200 years as far back as the year 812 officials at japans imperial court in kyoto wrote details on the blooms in documents and diaries japan experienced much warmer weather in the first few months of this year meteorologists say this is because of climate change they say many plants are flowering and blossoming earlier than normal because of global warming

    cherry blossoms are an important part of japanese culture people keep a close eye on the news of blossoming times from forecasts made by the japanese meteorological agency the blossoms are called sakura in japan many people plan trips to famous cherry blossom areas and spend hours having picnics under the sakura the cherry blossoms also provide japan with an important economic boost each spring people come from all over the world to view them japans mainichi newspaper explained the importance of sakura it wrote sakura has deeply influenced japanese culture for centuries it has regularly been used in poetry and literature their fragility is seen as a symbol of life death and rebirth

    Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

    CherryblossomsinKyoto,Japanhavebloomedattheirearliestdatein60
    0years.ResearchersfromOsakaUniversitysayblossomsinthecityofKy
    otopeakedonthe26thofMarch.ThepreviousrecordforKyotowassetin1
    409,whentheseasonreacheditspeakonthe27thofMarch.Dataoncherr
    yblossomsbloominginKyotogoback1,200years.Asfarbackastheyear8
    12,officialsatJapan'simperialcourtinKyotowrotedetailsonthebloomsi
    ndocumentsanddiaries.Japanexperiencedmuchwarmerweatherinth
    efirstfewmonthsofthisyear.Meteorologistssaythisisbecauseofclimate
    change.Theysaymanyplantsarefloweringandblossomingearlierthann
    ormalbecauseofglobalwarming.Cherryblossomsareanimportantpart
    ofJapaneseculture.Peoplekeepacloseeyeonthenewsofblossomingtim
    esfromforecastsmadebytheJapaneseMeteorologicalAgency.Theblos
    somsarecalled"sakura"inJapan.Manypeopleplantripstofamouscherr
    yblossomareasandspendhourshavingpicnicsunderthesakura.Theche
    rryblossomsalsoprovideJapanwithanimportanteconomicboosteachs
    pring.Peoplecomefromallovertheworldtoviewthem.Japan'sMainichin
    ewspaperexplainedtheimportanceofsakura.Itwrote:"Sakurahasdee
    plyinfluencedJapanesecultureforcenturies.Ithasregularlybeenusedin
    poetryandliterature.Theirfragilityisseenasasymboloflife,deathandre
    birth."

    Free writing

    Write about cherry blossoms for 10 minutes. Comment on your partner’s paper.

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    Academic writing

    It is important to have fun and picnics when trees blossom. Discuss.

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    Homework

    1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google's search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.
    2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about this news story. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.
    3. CHERRY BLOSSOMS: Make a poster about cherry blossoms. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?
    4. PICNICS: Write a magazine article about us all having picnics in spring to celebrate trees blossoming. Include imaginary interviews with people who are for and against this.
    Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).
    5. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? Write a newspaper article about the next stage in this news story. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.
    6. LETTER: Write a letter to an expert on cherry blossoms. Ask him/her three questions about them. Give him/her three of your opinions on cherry blossoms. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

    Answers

    (Please look at page 26 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

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