O-hanami

O

n Friday, I went with our Japanese program to view the cherry blossoms in the National Mall. This activity is popular in Japan and is call hanami. The “o” is an honorific, but doesn’t mean to suggest that the activity is honorable. But it does suggest that it is an event that is shared and appreciated by all Japanese. O-sushi and o-hashi (chopsticks) are other examples of words that are commonly prefixed with this honorific but are not necessarily “honorable”, old Charlie Chan movies notwithstanding…

Perhaps because of the weather, few students came. Rain was forecast, and although it fortunately did not rain only seventeen students came. We currently have a little over 120 students in our program, but many students have to work to make ends meet and so they work over the weekend, including Fridays when most have the fewest number of classes scheduled. Still, seventeen students is less than half of what usually show up. Oh well, it just means that virtually every student got a prize in the Janken (rock, paper, scissors) Tournament.

M made about twenty-five onigiri for me to take to share with the students. As usual, I was running late and dashed out of the house, so I forgot to take my camera. Stupid me. Fortunately, one of our teachers–Koh-chan, a former Japanese major of ours, I might add–did bring his and sent them to me. I’m glad he did so I can show you that the blossoms were in full bloom, an incredible site like snow on whithered trees. From a distant, they even look like clouds when they are in full bloom. This effect is unique to Japanese cherry trees as their blossoms burst forth before a single green leaf appears. It is a site to behold.


These are the cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin. This is a small body of water connected to the Potomac River inside the mall and it is surrounded by cherry trees.

The cherry trees were originally a gift from the Japanese government to the US government over 100 years ago. Erected among the trees is a Japanese stone lantern.


And this is the group. I’m somewhere in here. Can anyone guess? It shouldn’t be too hard.

On Saturday, I went back to the Mall with the family. I had to share this sight with them as well. I will post those pics soon.

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