Happy Valentine's everyone! Did you know that Valentine's Day started over 1,500 years ago in Europe, and was the result of a Roman emperor's efforts to increase the size of his army? Emperor Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements so the men could be used in the army. A Christian priest named Valentine secretly married couples and was put in prison by Claudius. He died in prison on February 14th. The Christian church later made it a special day to celebrate love and romance. Now, the day has no special Christian meaning – everyone celebrates the day. Don't forget this year!
The big news these the past two weeks has been the news out of China about the Coronavirus, which has now spread to many countries around the world. It's been pretty amazing to watch what the Chinese government is doing to try to contain the virus within China. I've heard that the spreading of the virus is supposed to peak around the middle of February, but no one knows for sure since the virus is so new. I hope that the worst of it has passed by early summer and doesn’t affect the Tokyo Olympics. In any case, please take care.
The New Year's sumo tournament was a lot of fun to watch this year, as the lower-ranked rikishi battled for the prizes. Tokushoryu's victory was a big surprise, and I think the fans were happy that he won.
Spring is coming – enjoy the warming weather, and see you in class…….