On Monday morning, we woke up at around 6am and turned on the TV. Every channel was covering the solar eclipse. They showed images of hundreds of people gathered all over Japan, cameras and eclipse viewers at the ready. Newscasters interviewed a tourist who had made a special trip to Japan from Australia in hopes of catching a glimpse of this natural phenomenon.
Included in the newscasts were tips on how to view the eclipse. Here’s a funny illustration I found:
They were also showcasing the different kinds of glasses that were suitable for viewing the sun. Here are a few that were being sold in Japan:
Leading up to the solar eclipse, many people asked me, “How do you say ‘eclipse’ in English?” When I told them it’s called an “eclipse,” instead of repeating the word to confirm how to say it, they gave up all together and said, “oh, I see.” I guess “eclipse” is a hard word to say. It’s much harder to say than “日食” (nisshoku), the Japanese word. The two kanji literally mean “sun” and “eat,” which makes sense; the sun really does look like it’s getting eaten.
As the sun was just starting to become hidden behind the moon, Khoa and I headed out of the house. As we walked, the sun became more and more hidden, causing the formally bright and sunny morning to resemble an evening filled with the warm rays of a setting sun. Continuing our walk, we eventually joined the many students and parents who had gathered at the school to watch the eclipse. It was fun to occasionally take a break from playing with the kids to look through the eclipse lenses at the shrinking sun. Since we are in Chibu, we are farther north than the optimal viewing position where you can see the sun as a complete ring.
Our tiny island (where the red and orange arrow is)
As a result, at the peak of the eclipse, the sun looked like a crescent moon. Nevertheless, this was definitely an event that the two of us will remember for a long time.