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    桜ヶ丘町

    Atsushi sent me this picture of the cherry blossoms in full bloom:

    The top of that hill is where my office was the whole time I lived in Tokyo; there are two gay bars along one of the side streets run by a couple who became dear friends of mine. Atsushi and I were first introduced to each other, a scant ten years ago, at one of them. I spent countless working dinners at several of the little restaurants in the neighborhood, where the proprietors would take care of me as if I were family. So it’s a street that has a great deal of meaning for me. Tokyo is a riotously exciting, adventurous place, and I’m an inquisitive person, so I did a great deal of exploring. But of course the moments that are really meaningful are those off-hand ones when you’re with people you value who make you feel that you, in turn, add value to their lives. Many of those moments were on Sakuragaoka (“Cherry-Tree Hill,” fittingly enough) for me.

    Japanese literature is choked with poems about cherry blossoms, but surprisingly few of them are about the fragrance. When they’re in bloom, the visuals are so painfully lovely that they tend to monopolize the attention. This waka by Ki no Tsurayuki is an exception:

    花の香に衣は深くなりにけり木の下陰の風のまにまに

    hana no ka ni/koromo ha fukaku/nari ni keri/ko no shitakage no/kaze no manimani

    The blossoms’ fragrance
    has saturated my robes
    to the very depths
    borne on the breezes stirring
    and stirring beneath the boughs

    5 Responses to “桜ヶ丘町”

    1. Sarah says:

      It looks almost like a fantasy painting. The blossoms don’t look QUITE real.

    2. Sean says:

      Yeah, Atsushi always had an eye for a really good image, even when I thought he was being a little excessive with the camera when we used to travel together.

    3. Julie says:

      My husband always claims that they don’t have a scent, so he thinks I’m crazy for liking this lotion that smells exactly like sakura. I think he just doesn’t have any sense of smell.

    4. Sarah says:

      LOL, Sean — Vacation this summer was a long (LONG) succession of Dan’s wanting the light JUST so over the castle tower while I want to get down the hill and find a place that sold cold water. 😉 I totally know what you’re saying.

    5. Sean says:

      Yes. Endearing but maddening. :)

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