Cherry Blossoms at the UW

In Japan, the tradition of viewing cherry blossoms, or sakura (桜), is a very popular one. Every year, we take the kids to the University of Washington for cherry blossom viewing, called o-hanami (お花見) in Japanese.

It was a very lovely time with the family. Centuries ago, the brilliant, and yet failed Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa (also mentioned here), once composed a poetic verse:1

咲き満ちてSakimichiteFlowers in full bloom —
花よりほかのHana yori hoka noBut apart from the blossoms,
色もなしIro mo nashiNo color anywhere.
Translation by Donald Keene in Yoshimasa and the Silver Pavilion: The Creation of the Soul of Japan

Centuries earlier, in the Hyakunin Isshu collection another poet composed some verses on cherry blossoms too:2

もろともにMorotomo niLet us think of each
哀れと思へAware to omoeother fondly,
山桜Yama-zakuraO mountain cherries!
花より外にHana yori hoka niFor, outside of your blossoms,
知る人もなしShiru hito mo nashithere’s no one who knows my feelings.
Translation by Dr Joshua Mostow

We toured the cherry blossoms, took photos amidst other people, and then we headed to the library at the University of Washington, something I that brought back a lot fo memories for me:

… and finally we stopped nearby for some good ramen:3

It was a somewhat unplanned event, since we usually don’t go on a weekday, but we decided to chance it due to the weather, and like any unplanned event, we were pleasantly surprised.

As an o-hanami event, the kids had a wonderful time, and hopefully some good memories for the future.

1 According to Donald Keene, this was the hokku (発句), or opening verse, of a renga poem.

2 Poem 66, see here for more details.

3 I enjoy miso-flavored ramen in particular. Ramen courtesy of Hokkaido Ramen Santouka.

Published by Doug

🎵Toss a coin to your Buddhist-Philhellenic-D&D-playing-Japanese-studying-dad-joke-telling-Trekker, O Valley of Plentyyy!🎵He/him

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