Sunday 31 March 2019


I never knew the Kaetsu Educational and Cultural Centre existed until just before Japan Day earlier this year. I never knew the Centre had been hosting celebrations for Japanese culture for decades. It’s nice when you discover depths to the community life that surrounds you...although nothing really should surprise one about Cambridge... it isn’t London, but it is evolving beyond its origins,beyond fenland and university land to a place where different migrating worlds collide.

Back to hanami in the heart of town. I arrived too late on Japan Day to enjoy any of the food - of course, Japanese food would be the first to be devoured! But I did sit down at the calligraphy table, and I did buy some beautiful handcrafted lavender scented worry dolls made by Kazuko, the chef herself!

I was so charmed by a young girl in her grandmother’s kimono, that I wrote to the administrator to say so, to thank them for the day. The person who wrote back turned out to be the charming girl’s mother! Which is always handy. When people praise me to my mother, I know she appreciates my daughter-ness. Filial success!

Hiroko replied, inviting me back for an informal hanami celebration. She is learning the ways of the tea ceremony herself, and I was guest of honour. The matcha was delicious, so lucky to have had two bowls (chavan), and the cake and sweets were all perfectly balanced.
I read a couple of my poems out loud to the five women present, and later, when it was just myself and Hiroko, we spoke of her own literary work - she is completing a paper on the ancient craft of kintsugi, the philosophy of which has long interested and intrigued me. Kintsukuroi in more recent Western philosophy is the idea that even something broken can be made beautiful, transformed by the gold lacquer that holds the pieces together. Why gold? Why such care taken over something broken? These are questions Hiroko is exploring and I can’t wait to read her paper. 


Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh, my friend, as I read, I think I enjoyed this for you as much as if I were there myself. I am so glad you shared some poems with them, and so thrilled they invited you for your own private ceremony. How very cool. And yes, your mom must know she won the Daughter Lottery with you! Trust me, I know these things. Smiles. Hey, I just re-read I Shall Not Hate, about the doctor in Gaza, who works in the Israeli hospital, whose daughters tragically were bombed by Israeli tanks some years back: I Shall Not Hate, a wonderful read. I am sure you have read it as we usually read the same books....I felt a re-read was timely. This afternoon I spent the entire afternoon sitting on the beach in the sun and saw a very small grey whale, am worried where its mother was, as we didnt see her. We are working hard to save some old growth for your visit to Tofino. Smiles.

Unknown said...

Sounds like a great day! Thanks for sharing.

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