2007/04/01

Haru Ga Kita - Spring Is Coming

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Spring is here, actually, and today there was a celebration of the cherry blossoms in Kashima City's Shiroyama Park. The park is on a hill on the edge of town overlooking the south end of Lake Kitaura and the Kanto plain beyond. For 400 years, it was the site of a castle, long since destroyed, built by the family Masamoto Kashima. It is now a place where people enjoy viewing cherry blossoms and a month later, mountain azaleas.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
The castle's view - on this hazy day.



Click above to listen to "Haru ga kita" (Spring is Coming), a traditional children's song written in 1918. English translation below.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The trees were still in the early stages of blooming, but there were ample blossoms to enjoy. Next weekend will probably be better, but I wanted to see the performance of Kashima City's dance, "Waninatte Kashima", that was offered. It is the same dance that is performed at the Bon Dance that we participate in during August.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Lots of people were there enjoying the warm weather - it was about 20C (68F) - and of course, the sakura. Families and company parties spread their ground covers early to reserve a space under the trees. Koto music played softly over speakers throughout the park and some food booths offered something for those who didn't pack a lunch. There are lanterns there as well, providing light for those who wish to have their sakura viewing party at night.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

There was a dance at 10:30 and another at 11:30. We came for the second. Everyone was welcome to join in. I think the dance's name, "wani natte", means to join hands and make a circle, which is a part of this dance, and some people did so, including local folk, children and a few other "gaijin" that happened to be there.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Spring is coming, spring is coming,
Where is spring now?
Here in the mountains,
Here in the village,
And here in the fields.

Flowers bloom, flowers bloom,
Where do flowers bloom?
Here in the mountains,
Here in the village,
And here in the fields.

Birds are singing, birds are singing,
Where do birdies sing?
Here in the mountains,
Here in the village,
And here in the fields.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

16 comments:

The Moody Minstrel said...

Yes, you're right. "Wa ni natte" literally means "form a circle". Actually, there was a smash pop hit by the singing group V6 called "Wa ni natte odorou". (lit. "Let's form a circle and dance")

I wonder which was first, V6 or Kashima? ;-)

My new grade staff at the school doesn't seem to be having a hanami party at Shiroyama Park this year. What a pity!

ladybug said...

That sounds like total fun! A good relaxing kind of cultural event, instead of the frenetic type I enjoyed when I was younger (like County & State Fairs w/their barkers, lighted thrill rides, endless food booth and agricultural exhibits).

Reminds me I need to get down to our local Arboretum to take a look-see at what's blooming now....

Pandabonium said...

Moody - thanks. V6? They could have had a V8.

Ladybug - at the Maui County Fair I used to always seek refuge in the orchid greenhouse. This is a nice tradition, and popular - more than 2 million people are expected to visit Ueno Park in Tokyo this season!

bonnie said...

Beautiful!

My neighborhood in Brooklyn has a number of magnolia trees - saw one of those from a distance today & thought for a second it was a cherry tree!

Not yet, of course.

Hm. Maybe this year I can make it to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Sakura Matsuri. Somehow never managed to make that & it sounds like fun. Hip-hop artist Akim Funk Buddha's "Urban Tea Ceremony," anyone?

Of course I did love it last year when I went to see them on a rainy weekend the week before the festival, and they were so pretty with the raindrops on them, and it was so quiet. That was fun.

Some very mice smiles in today's pictures!

bonnie said...

I mean nice smiles!

Pandabonium said...

Bonnie - Hi! "Mice" smiles are what you get when you say "cheese". :D

k said...

"Wa ni natte ..." or "Let's make a circle/circles." is a very old expression when you dance Bon dance or folk dance, but the V6 song is older than Kashima ondo which only dates to the 10th anniversary of Kashima City in 2005.

Martin J Frid said...

Is that K singing? What a lovely little tune. They knew how to write good music back in those days!

I went to Ueno Park for some o-hanami and it wasn't half as bad as I had expected. They even had staff from Domino Pizza walk around taking orders. And the blossoms were indeed lovely. This is a tradition we could start in other parts of the world, too.

Pandabonium said...

Martin - sorry, it isn't K's voice. Glad you like the tune. I agree the songs back then were wonderful, which I suppose is why so many of them from that era are still around.

Last Golden Week, we went up to northeastern Ibaraki to the home of Ujo Noguchi who wrote poems and lyrics for children in the 1920s - Blue Eyed Doll and Akai Kutsu for example (my post of May 5th).

Pizza at o-hanami - now there's a nice idea! Everyone in the US that I tell about this tradition thinks it is wonderful. It could catch on - even if it involved different types of blossoms depending on the local flora.

Hill said...

I just love it when you do these photo essays. Looks like you had a marvelous time. And the music was uplifting, even though I couldn't understand a word of it. The spirit of it speaks the universal language, though.

Shelly said...

Hi. I really like your blog. Was wondering if you want to add it to my directory? Thanks Shelly

Weblog index

Pandabonium said...

Hill - nice to take a break enjoy flowers and carefree songs sometimes, isn't it? Hope your new garden does well.

Shelly - Thanks. OK, I will.

Swinebread said...

very nice, again with the great shots!

JUDITH said...

SO LOVELY. I WANT TO COME TO SPRING IN JAPAN; THOUGH I NEVER THOUGHT OF JAPAN AS ONE CHOICE FOR TRAVEL BEFORE. ELIZABETH'S MOM

Pandabonium said...

Judith - Japan has a lot to offer vacationers - historic shrines and temples, parks, flowers, festivals and beautiful national parks. Oh, and delicious food too. :D

Ryan Liew said...

haru-ga kita...

Haru ga kita, haru ga kita, doko ni kita?
Yama ni kita, Sato ni kita, no nimo kita...