Monday, April 23, 2007

Sanpei Sensei & 三春滝桜

On Saturday, I visited my all time favorite English teacher, Sanpei Sensei for some hanami, or “cherry blossom viewing. He even picked me up from my house, so that I would be able to enjoy some drinks with him that evening (his wife being the designated driver).

Sanpei Sensei’s home town of Miharu is well known throughout Japan for its famous cherry blossoms, which usually bloom in late April. The town certainly lives up to its reputation: cherry blossoms literally cover portions of the countryside. The town distributes maps of all the best places to view them, and people come from far and wide to see the famous Miharu no Takizakura, the largest, or oldest cherry tree in Japan (I forget which). It ranks as one of the three greatest cherry trees in Japan. It’s quite large, but not nearly the behemoth they raved about. More disappointingly, the blooming was almost over, most of the flowers blown off by wind and heavy rains. Tiny green leaves overtook the flowers about four days before my arrival, with only a few pink holdouts remaining. We also arrived rather late during a cloudy evening, rendering my photographs rather unimpressive.

Kikuchi Sensei, Katahira’s art teacher, also joined us that evening. Everyone was very curious about my plans for leaving Japan and what I’ll do next. I told them I was in talks with a man to work at an International School in Kuwait (true) but that nothing substantial has come of it yet.

We also ate tons of basashi (raw horse) and gyu (beef) tongue he had brought back from Sendai. The tongue was absolutely delicious.

Sanpei Sensei also agreed to invite me over for their annual rice planting, a substantial task for his family in the month of May. While he’s happy for the help, he still seems puzzled by my fascination with helping him with such a chore. Picture a foreigner living in America eager to help with the annual task of cleaning the swimming pool in spring, or mowing the lawn all day long. But, I may only get to do this once. I for one, am excited.

PS: My pictures were so lousy and the blooming so deteriorated, I decided there was less shame in stealing this picture from this website than showing my own picture.

No comments: