Tea For Two......Hundred

Please click on the pictures to enjoy the enlarged versions.

We returned to Shiroyama Koen, Kashima City, to see how the cherry trees looked a week after we first viewed them. During that time, they had blossomed fully and started to loose their petals, but were still a beautiful sight.

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The tea ladies pack up

This morning, some women demonstrated Japanese tea ceremony at the park, and served the first two hundred people to get there. We sort of dilly-dallied this morning and by the time we arrived, the tea ceremony was over. My fault really, as I was trying to get the post about the cyclone finished. Ah well. We enjoyed a tea ceremony demonstration last year at the Hanamatsuri celebration at Rokujizo Temple.

"Hana" (1900) by Hagoromo Takeshima and Rentaro Taki

Lyrics in English below

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There were a lot more people there today. The trees were full of blossoms, if a little past their peak, and occasionally a gust of wind would send flurries of petals fluttering down like snowflakes - "sakura fubuki" (cherry blosson blizzard).

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Petals fell on the path that goes around the edges of the park. People enjoyed their "hanami" (blossom viewing) picnics under the trees as traditional tunes played from speakers.

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Azaleas were starting to bloom. The park has wild mountain azaleas as well as other varieties which have been donated to the park.

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Along the road out of the park, we saw this beautiful flower on a vine, sakura petals on it's leaves. Cherry trees line the road and their blossoms are contrasted against a background of evergreens.

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No matter what my state of mind when I get to a park like this, o-hanami - blossom viewing - quiets my mind and gives me a deep sense of gratitude and joy at the coming of spring, the beauty of nature and of life. What a lovely tradition.

Hagoromo Takeshima and Rentaro Taki
translation by Greg Irwin

Near the river in the spring
Beautiful is the sight
Golden ripples glistening
In the April light
Have you seen the color green
That only spring can bring?
Have you heard a hummingbird
When it starts to sing?

How glad, spring has come over the Sumida,
Rowing up, rowing down in the warm sunbeams,
Drops from the boatmen's oars look like cherry blooms,
How can I describe for you the view o'er the streams?

Near the river in the spring
Beautiful is the dawn
Cherry trees are blossoming
Lovers on the lawn
Have you seen the willow tree?
Whose branches hang so low
Rustling in the shadows there
Of love's afterglow

Lo, see the cherry trees stand in morning mist,
I hear them speak to me in a tender tone,
In the eve I love to see the waving willows,
They stretch their hands to me strolling alone.

Near the river in the spring
Beautiful is the night
Stars are lighting up the sky
A crescent moon hangs oh so very bright
Nature sings and gently brings
This glorious rebirth
Near the river in the spring
Heaven here on Earth

Oh, see the hazy moon rising o'er the banks,
Rows of cherry trees standing o'er the streams,
How I love the cherry blossoms in the moonlight!
How can I describe for you the night like in a dream?

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ladybug said...

The music is truly enchanting! I'm listening on snabby's computer, since mine doesn't do sound so well. The crab apples are blooming, and our liliacs are budding as well.

I just suggested to Snab that we make some family hikes at Hoyt Arboretum and Forest Park to see what else is blooming too!

Glad you had a good time!

Pandabonium said...

That music has been a favorite of mine for a long time. As I was writing the post, I learned it is one of K's too.

Go on those hikes. Nothing like connecting with nature.


PinkPanther said...

Oh, No! Some cherry petals are fluttered down so quickly,:-( I watched HK TV program on yesterday, a farmer bought some cherry sapling from Taiwan and to cultivate them in suburb areas of New Territores in Hong Kong, sadly cherry were only blossomed for only 2 – 4 days.

I am eagering to see the blooming cherry in JP one day.

Lots of green comes out, SPRING really arrives?

Pandabonium said...

PP - yes, the petals start to fall soon after blooming, but there are still a lot left as the blossoms don't all open at once. Also, trees in different areas bloom at different times, and even different kinds of trees have different times.

I hope you get to see them in Japan some day.

Martin J Frid said...

Lovely melody, adding a player to your blog is such a nice touch.

With the rains tonight I suppose the 2007 sakura will be over. Looking forward to summer...?

Reena said...

Lovely pictures Panda. We are done with spring, have moved on to the dreadful summer heat.

Swinebread said...

Very nice! I can't show this to my SO she'll get homesick!

QUASAR9 said...

Tea for two ... hundred
and you dilly dallied
and were late - lol!

Sorry had to laugh
Anyway image being 'mother' when there's two hundred for tea

I know I know, it's a ceremony!

Pandabonium said...

Swinebread - ah, well. From what I've seen on Snabulus blog, there is a lot of beautiful trees and fun festivals in your neck of the woods.

Quarar9 - ha. when I read your comment I thought of the lyric "Lady Madonna, children at your feet, wonder how you manage to make ends meet".

Pandabonium said...

Martin - I skipped you and Reena, gomen ne!

Thanks, I like to add music sometimes, but I always change the setting after a little while so people have a choice to listen or not. Well, the sakura may be falling, but spring is here and so beautiful in many ways. Personally, I am looking forward to summer - my tropical blood likes it HOT!

Reena - like I just said, sorry to have skipped your comment. Glad you like the pics. I like the weather hot and humid. Maybe I'm part orchid. :)

Hill said...

Once again, your pictures provide joy and peace to all of us who look at them.

Pandabonium said...

Hill - thank you. Glad you liked them.

YD said...

Hanami! Beautiful pictures, and beautiful music.

I have been looking at the last picture, she is dancing, isn't she? The position is a bit interesting, and made me wonder whether she does yoga as well...

Pandabonium said...

Thanks YD. The last picture is a bit deceptive. I cut off a third panel that goes to the left and contains a menacing man. The entire 3 piece picture is actually about a slave trader trying to get this woman. Kind of creepy. Hope that doesn't spoil it for you. With just the two panels I posted, I thought it fit the post.

YD said...

oooh... Ya it's much better without the menacing attacker.

No wonder her arm seems like shielding herself from something.. I suppose there is a story underneath the picture? Something about slave trading? Any post for it? ^_^

(My word verification actually said, "Chew-gogo", oh dear...)

Pandabonium said...

YD - I don't know the story behind the woodblock prints other than it was done by Yoshitoshi Taiso who was the last great woodblock artist of the Edo era (he died in 1861). He liked telling stories and much of his work is about horror or ghost stories. He also did a number of pieces about death. Prostitutes of the time were largely indentured servants. That still goes on in Japan and around the world of course.

I was looking for prints of the moon over the Sumida river mentioned in the song, during cherry blossom season, and this one worked well.