One thing the Japanese love very much is making long speeches at official ceremonies, and when I went to my daughter’s graduation I knew there’d be several to sit through — the official speech by the principal of the school plus others by representatives of the faculty, the graduating students, the class below the graduating students, and the parents, all of which must be done in order to satisfy the proper kata or expected social form. One interesting aspect of these kinds of speeches is the way they’re decorated with flowery adjectives which are often related to the seasons, which would sound something like, “We stand here on this day, still feeling the cold shadow of winter as it gives way to the brightness and promise of renewal of spring…” if rendered into English. There’s a whole subset of extremely poetic words in Japanese, which are rich and beautiful to the ear but which are challenging for foreign students of the language as they’re encountered only rarely. This kind of beautiful language is also used when writing formal letters, which unfortunately is fast becoming a lost art in our hyper-connected world of email, Twitter and Facebook.
The Japanese love long, flowery speeches that are hard for gaijin to understand.