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Monday, 11 April 2011

Day 42 - Cherry Blossom

I was constantly hearing about the springtime Sakura - cherry bossom - in Japan. It has taken me about two weeks of looking at it, smelling it, photographing it, talking about it, reading about it, being shown it outside my window, walking through snowstorms of petals, watching couples being photographed in front of it, and then sitting under cherry trees in Tokushima Central Park for a couple of hours this afternoon in the warm spring sun, I was finally convinced. Now, I understand.

Impossible to put into words ... well, almost impossible, I had been so frustrated by my inability to draw or write poetry based on my experience in Ritsurin Park. So this afternoon I decided to simply sit in Tokushima Central Park until I had written something. Here is the poem I was inspired to write. I can barely compose a simple Japanese sentence, so attempting to write a Japanese language Tanka (a tradition Japanese poem containing five lines of 5, 7, 5, 7 and 7 syllables respectively) was a little over-ambitious. It probably makes little sense, and I simply could not avoid the obvious comparison of the petals with snowflakes, but here is my honest response to Sakura:

Google translate churns it out as:
"Warm pink snowflake. Sakura flying, light snowfall of spring, I was found."
which is actually surprisingly close to my intended meaning.

Today was another rest day, my final full day in Shikoku. I was staying at the same hotel as when I passed through Tokushima after Temple 17. I visited Mount Bizan today, there was a cable car to the summit, but I was still feeling guilty for taking a cable car up the the mountain to Temple 85, so I walked to the summit of Mount Bizan in my Crocs to enjoy the panoramic views of Tokushima City. A notice at the summit said that one can see Wakayama Prefecture, the closest mainland, where I am heading tomorrow, but it was slightly hazy and I could not make it out. Halfway up the mountain I saw a photo-shoot of a model posing in front of an Italian sports car with cherry blossom in the background.


  1. I love the tanka! It conveys how I felt about the whole sakura thing too. lol

  2. Awww. That's beautiful (assuming Google Translation is telling me the truth).

    Dead proud of you mate. Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip.

  3. Hello, I am the Austrian you met at Meisekiji.
    Congratulations for completing the full henro - and enjoying it to the last moment. Hope you now relax in Tokyo before going back to London with luggage having been made heavier with all the impressions you collected.
    It had been a very great pleasure meeting you.