se maquiller + a teenager's right to wear makeup?
haut les coeurs!


Image made with

En étant tous des enfants de la terre, on vous envoie, cher Japon, nos pensées les plus sincères. As fellow children of the earth, we send you, dear Japan, our most sincere thoughts.

seisme (sayeezm) noun, masculine

  : earthquake

Audio file: listen to our son Max (Download MP3 or WAV), who wrote these French words:

On se sent tous concernés par le seisme au Japon.
We all feel affected by the earthquake in Japan. 

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

Cousin Audrey is back in France. She returned from Japan last week after representing her parents' vineyard in an international wine fair. 

Though here in Provence, her thoughts remain with les Japonais. All of us join Audrey in searching for words to comfort those who are living in turmoil and fear. I hope the following mots de soutien will help you to express your own feelings at this time:


Il n'y a pas de mots assez puissants...
(There are not words strong enough...) 


ce désastre, cette catastrophe, cette épreuve,
(this disaster, this tragedy, this catastrophe, this trying time)

Quand on est tous touchés, et on se sent tous impuissants...
When we are all touched by it, when we feel powerless...

Voici quelques mots pour exprimer notre soutien/pour encourager:
Here are some French words to help express our support/to help encourage

"Courage à vous!"
Courage to you!

"La Force!"
The strength (to carry on)!

"Un gros soutien au peuple japonais..."
All our support to the Japanese...

"Une très grande pensée pour le japon"
All our thoughts go toward Japan. 

"prières pour les victims"
Prayers for the victimes

"On est de tout coeur avec vous..."
We are wholeheartedly with you 

On peut envoyer ces mots avec...
We can send these words with...

l'émotion / emotion
la compassion /compassion
les larmes / tears


To share your thoughts or wishes or ideas on how to help les japonais... leave a message of support in our community corner. Corrections welcome.


On pense à vous. Thinking of you. Wildflowers from Cairanne.

Chief Grape in the USA: 03/14 : Meet Jean-Marc (and taste his wines!) in San Francisco on March 16th from 5 to 6 30 PM at the K&L SF Wine store (638 - 4th Street) and in many other US cities !

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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Jules Greer

Thank You Kristi for helping me to put into context what I have been feeling for the last few days, feeling so helpless, your post seemed to round up all of my wild thoughts and press them into a more complete expression - one I had been searching for to go along with my deepest prayers.

I am so proud of you Honey - I know I tell you this all of the time, but I am always most proud when you share your true inner thoughts.



Gail Jolley

J’ai des beaux amis en Japon (Max a utilisé “au Japon” – lequel est correct?) mais ils habitent tous au sud, loin du centre du seisme. Je pense que la meilleur moyen de aider les japonais serait avec une donation a Red Cross ou Medecins sans Frontieres.

Gail Jolley

Pardon l'erreur: c'est "d'aider".

Marianne Rankin

Gail, c'est "au Japon." There are a few countries where (don't know why) one utilizes the definite article with the name, so instead of saying "en", one says "au" (a + le; seems these countries are all of masculine gender): au Canada, au Mexique, aux Etats-Unis (in this case, a + les; the USA is plural for the French).

What can we do for the Japanese besides pray? When a catastrophe is so far away, it is hard to send supplies, and the postage would likely cost as much as what one was sending. So I send money, usually via the Red Cross or other reputable charitable organization. One can do so online, using a credit card, which works better internationally than checks. But you could send a check to an American organization or a U.S. branch of something such as the Red Cross, and they could still use it.

Various churches have rescue/relief arms, so you could send money to one of them if you prefer.

Eileen deCamp

We are all praying for the people of Japan and I really do believe that praying and actually visualizing the country and the people as you pray will lift them up and God will help them.


Thank you, Kristin; one can never have too many words with which to pray!

Carolyn Foote Edelmann

Lovely and sustaining, Kristin, to all who watch in empathy, too far to assist the noble people of Japan.

Small thought - watching their dignity and fortitude, I think they may not want to be called 'victims'.

My Provencal neighbors had a phrase which sounded to me like o, liqueurs! - but was, in fact, HAUT LES COEURS! - [High the hearts] - please correct as needed and share with your readers.

Maybe have your children read these encouraging words. I love it that this word, in France, implies to infuse with courage.

Thank you for linking those of us who love France with a country I am taught to love (having lived through Pearl Harbor) as I never thought I would, watching their fortitude in the face of the impossible.

Candy in SW KS

I love that phrase, Carolyn, "Haut les coeurs!" As though we are all lifting our hearts together to send loving thoughts. What a perfect saying. Thank you for sharing that with us today. And yes, we do send our thoughts and prayers to all those who are suffering. "Love and light" - one of my favorite sayings from "Eat, Pray, Love".

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Salut Kristin,

Your emotional subject today is so appropriate! The devastation from the multiple disasters is hard for use to realize. I received the link to these before/after pictures via an email this morning. They show the grim destruction very well.

Your photo of the flower garden is fitting since the Japanese so loved their beautiful gardens.

À bientôt

Claudette Kunsay

My thoughts, my emotions, my prayers are with you our friends from Japan. Yes the only other thing we can do is give money to Red Cross or other organisms to help them clean up and to rebuild but the human lives that they lost are the most difficult trauma to put up with....
With all my love,

judith dunn

... Every day, we Americans can find something to whine about in our country. As we look at the pictures coming from Japan, we should be eternally grateful for all of our blessings, however small we may find them in our daily life. Many thousnads of these people now have absolutely nothing at all and must start over from scratch... think about how hard that would be if you were 60 years old or more! tres triste.... and thank you for your always excellent thoughts . Judi dunn

Dianne de Poitiers

Le Japon est dans mon coeur !

Grammar Lesson: Countries that end in "e" are feminine so "en France, en Italie, en Grèce, etc." Two exceptions: le Mexique et le Cambodge. All other countries are masculine, so "au Laos, au Danemark, au Togo." Plural countries: "aux Etats-Unis, aux Pays-Bas, aux Philippines ...."

Christine Oace

The earthquake... a grim reminder of the fragility of our time here on earth. Today is what we have...hug your sweetheart, kiss your child, call your friend. Say the things you feel... I love you, I appreciate you. Find a small way to make a positive difference. Everything matters. Thank you Kristan for bringing us together.


I work in Haiti and people use tremblement de terre rather than seisme when speaking french. Is this a Haitian thing? Sometimes when we speak to people in our project area they also use Goudou Goudou in Creole as an onomatopoeia word for the earthquake.

Dave Kelly

My thoughts and the thoughts of my family go out to the Japanese people. There is hope at th end of the tunnel.


I am very sadden when I see disaster happen anywhere around the world. We are all in this together and on this planet together, so I do hope everyone can make it there business to help each other and today it's Japan that really needs us...

Joan Linneman

Voltaire a utilise "tremblement de terre" en Candide pour decrire le desastre naturel a Lisbonne. On peut sentir l'experience avec tremblement de terre; seisme ne donne pas le meme effet.

gail bingenheimer

L'explosion nous a fait nous regarder avec étonnement.
The explosion made us look at each other with surprise.


Quelle est la difference entre "tremblement de terre" et "seisme"?

Bob Haine

Lots of good things in today's post and comments. We too have been praying for and thinking of our Japanese friends and all the people of Japan these last four days. We had the privilege of visiting this beautiful country twenty years ago and came home with a great deal of admiration for its people--their hospitality, their sense of consideration for others, especially for us "gai-jin"! (foreigners)


Here , in New Zealand ,we are just getting over the loss of some of our people and the beautiful city of Christchurch---and now this HUGE catastrophy in Japan !!UNBELIEVABLE damage and carnage there !!
The thoughs and good wishes from the whole world are with them now......

Christine Dashper

Mille mercis Kristin for your words, thoughts and wishes, as always so appropriate. Thank you also for giving us all somewhere to voice our love and concern for the Japanese. My Japanese friend returned home last week with her 8 week old baby, just before the quake. It is with great relief that I can say she is safe in Osaka, but my thoughts are with all those affected.

Audrey Wilson

How true these feelings of being so helpless to do any thing practical. As Marianne says, to donate is something to do, when one thinks (or tries to imagine the scale of the clearing up), of the starting again from nothing, of the loss of dear ones.
How little we have to complain about ! My thoughts are with Japan in her hour of need


Kristin, I didn't switch on my laptop yesterday and was very pleased this morning to see your message following the earthquake and Tsunami in Japan.
Our local firemen from Christchurch UK, just came back from Christchurch New Zealand, and a few days later, off they were again, this time to Japan, joining other firemen from the South of England.
So many poignant scenes of little seaside towns reduced to complete devastation... Horrendous tide of bodies along the coastline... explosions... radiation leaks from nuclear power plants. The pictures on TV are so devastating... If a survivor, how would I cope in such a situation? I cannot forget the face of that young Japanese teacher who said all her young pupils were dead and the only thing she wanted to do was helping to feed people who lost everything, except their life.

I tried to call my dear Japanese friends... but all I get is a recorded message by an anonymous Japanese voice, followed by whistling noises. Oh! Mamiko, Takamoto and Gyota, my thoughts and prayers are with you and with your country.
Mamiko, I know you are tough, courageous and you have a heart of gold. If in Kawagoe, you must be safe and I am sure you are doing everything in your power to help. Takamoto, you know what hardship means. Don't let your knowledge of statistics and your visions of the future torment you too much - and you, young Gyota, where are you now???
If only I could hear from you!
Such events (on the top of other crisis in the world at the moment) make us re-think about values and priorities!

Jenifer Grant

Seisme is topical, however, the word used in Haiti, where French is spoken by all people who have had an opportunity to go to school and by all the Kreyol speakers is “tramblaman” (probably Kreyol spelling) I like the onomatopoeia. Goudou goudou is also used. It was coined after the EQ – it was pretty much what everyone heard during the 35 seconds of the EQ. I enjoy your Word-a-Day. Jenifer Grant


Hello Jenifer (re-typing my message)

= an earthquake
from "trembler" = to shake, to tremble

hence the "tramblaman" you mentioned

"Un séisme"
= seism
geological term for an earthquake

"goudou goudou"
This makes me think of the English word: 'caboodle" but I have no idea whether it has a connection or not!


AU Japon: why "au" and not "en"?
simply because Japan, in French, is a masculine country

Useful to know ->
The French PREPOSITIONS in front of MASC COUNTRIES are:
---> à (= to, in)
- becomes "au" -> [à + le ...],
- becomes "aux" -> [à + les ...] if masc countries are plural
-> Je vais au Japon / au Portugal / au Mexique / aux Etats-Unis.

---> de (= from)
- becomes "du" -> [de + le ...]
- becomes "des" -> [de + les ...] (f masc countries are plural
-> Je reviens du Japon / des Etats-Unis / du Portugal / du Mexique.

EXCEPTION for the masculine countries starting with a VOWEL.
In that case, use "en" for 'to, in' and use de l' / also d' for 'from'
-> Je vais en Israël.
-> Je reviens d'Israël.

NB ->
- "les Etats-Unis" are Masc, because the word "Etat" (State) is masc
- For plural countries, whether Masc or Fem:
it's always "aux" for 'to' and 'in'
and always "des" for 'from'

- if a country is feminine sing (la France, la Chine)
use "en" for 'to' and 'in' - use "de" for 'from'
- if a feminine country starts with a vowel (l'Italie, L'Espagne),
use "en" for 'to' and 'in' and use 'de l' (also d') for 'from'

La Viscountess

@GwenEllyn, aucune différence, 2 mots pour le même évènement.:-)

Michèle Shuey

Oui, étant tous des enfants de cette planète, je pense, comme vous, Kristin, que l’on doit se sentir solidaire lorsqu’une tragédie survient quelque part sur terre. Et le Japon est une catastrophe d’une énorme ampleur. Elle nous laisse tous sans voix. Moi aussi, j’aimerais m’associer à la douleur de ce peuple remarquable qui souffre. Il nous donne, par ailleurs, l’example d’un grand courage.

Michèle Shuey


Kristi -- A beautiful and heartbreaking post. Merci mille fois.

Karen W  (Towson, Maryland)

Two thoughts of note:

First, I heard a Japanese man interviewed today. He was told by his interviewer that people would like to help. What can they do? The Japanese man replied that the best thing has been the show of support through words, emails, etc. because, he said, it makes him feel that the world is one big family - not just separate nations. This gives him hope.

Second, it amazes me that there has been no looting, etc.. that we would see and have seen in the USA when a city is ravaged by natural disasters. These are such humble & grateful people. THIS gives ME hope.

Jennifer in OR

Praying, mourning, trusting. Thank you for the many beautiful ways to encourage the Japanese. I have a cousin who lives there, as well as missionary friends. It's terrifying.

Marianne Rankin

Herm, thanks for the link that showed us the before and after pictures of Japan. It can hardly be believed! They really show the devastation, more effectively than still pictures or the occasional news clip.

Does anyone know of a way to send general notes to the Japanese, along the lines mentioned in Karen W's post? I suppose one could send a note to the Japanese embassy.

Bonnie Whitehead

For your word tree,
please allow me to add
The people of Japan have acted with much dignity in the face of so much loss.

Mayor Nancy flemming

Thank you for putting into words our empathy for Japan and it's people. My experiences there are so sensitive and beautiful, the people so kind and generous, that this tragedy seems unspeakable....simply pain.
The acknowledgement of their courage and strength in an almost unendurable time, is the grace to be found amidst this awfulness.
Mayor Nancy Flemming

Joy Eballar

Have not stopped thinking or praying everyone in the disaster in Japan. It is just so devastating and painful. My deepest heartfelt prayers go out to everyone affected, every day. Prayers needed from everyone please...........


alicia brown


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