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Posts tagged kandagawa

Sakura Sakura

I’m realizing, with the blossoming of the cherry trees in Ashland, Oregon this year, just how many different varieties of cherry trees there are and how the ones in Oregon aren’t much like the ones in Japan (pictured above). For starters, most in Japan have white blossoms. Most in the USA, or in my part of Oregon anyway, are pink. Even the ones in the USA that have been around for decades look like they could have been planted just a few years ago, while those in Japan all seem larger and more ancient.

How are the cherry blossoms where you are?

Sakura haiku (桜俳句)

The cherry blossoms have officially opened in Tokyo. I long to be there, but it’s not going to happen this year. I walked along the Kanda River nearly every night during sakura season last year. The massive cherry trees bent over the river and the lanterns lit them ever so sweetly. Notice the signs posted every few feet on the fence along the river. On them were written haiku by neighbors about sakura, the Kanda River, or both. Some of the poems were beautiful. Others were funny. This one was sad.

It says “桜見ず、パソコンながめ、勤務中” and was written by someone who calls himself 05パパ. Dad5’s poem reads, “Without viewing the cherry blossoms, I stare at my computer, in the middle of work.” I hope Dad5 is able to get out and see the cherry blossoms this year.

Yakiimo Man 石焼き芋屋さん

When the nights are cold in Japan you can sometimes hear the call “ya ki i mo” (やきいも) after dark. Heading out into the cold darkness you will discover someone like this man selling baked sweet potatoes out of a cart or the back of a mini-truck. I spotted this guy next to the Kanda River.

It appears from his license plate that he came all the way in from Hachioji to sell them two for 500 yen.

Nighttime sakura in a fierce wind

kandagawa japan night photography chisanzo

The hanami parties officially started on the Kanda River on April 1 (and run through April 10). That evening included very warm temperatures and a very strong wind. The “shake” in the above picture wasn’t from my hand; the cause was the wind through the trees.

The building in the background is the Four Seasons Hotel at Chinzanso.

Kanda River (神田川) – Then and Now

Kanda River 神田川 ukiyo-e

Things have changed since Hiroshige created the above scene (“Basho’s Hermitage and Camellia Hill on the Kanda Aqueduct at Sekiguchi, No. 40” (せき口上水端はせを庵椿やま) in “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo” (名所江戸百景)). I haven’t taken any photos of the Kanda River yet, as it is anything but beautiful these days. However, I will in spring when the cherry blossoms are out.

Basho’s hermitage (Bashodo or 芭蕉堂) is still here, but it isn’t easy to find (especially if you can’t read Japanese), and you have to go through a closed gate to enter the grounds.

This area along the river is still a great spot for a walk though. I take one or two here a week, and Linda takes one almost every day past Chinzanso. Our apartment would be in the distance on the left side of this ukiyo-e where the trees are, although at that time our apartment’s exact location was part of takadanobaba which Hiroshige also included in his “100 Famous Views of Edo.”

A few weeks back I witnessed a man throw a hefty bag of garbage into this water way. What a shame. From the looks of the current state of the water, he isn’t alone.

kanda river walking path tokyo japan

The above is the current path along the river, complete with elevated expressway on the other side and guard rail (the river is some 30 feet below).

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