I decided that today was the day to open the ‘mystery box’ I got from winning the Kodak picture competition (with Otto the plushie deciding to watch). But first, my beloved Canon Camera from our Trip to Japan had returned from being repaired. It kinda DIED, and Canon charges a set fee of $89. We sent it off as getting this Camera now would cost about $600 (for the fold away viewscreen and other features which are wheelchair friendly). It was back in a week and just in time for……a sunny day and us to see the Sakura Blossoms.
For those who are not obsessive Japanese culture and language types, Sakura means ‘Cherry Blossom’. And because in 800’s, the Emperor and nobility liked to go out and watch the cherry blossoms as they came into full bloom and fall from the tree, this has become a National Holiday in Japan. While in Japan,TV news reports the state of Sakura (the type of cherry tree blossoms) buds and blossoms and estimated dates of the festival for each city came before the weather. Each city declares its own Sakura Festival as the different tempatures cause the trees to blossom at different times. Hence ‘Sakura-Con’ here in Seattle in April also when a 2 day holiday has 16 million people come to Kyoto to view the Cherry Blossoms, or go to Nara to feed the deer.
In Sakura, everyone goes as quickly as possible (gigantic traffic jam) to where the main trees are. In Kanazawa, the ancient Japanese Capital, it is by the Castle and one of the ‘great’ gardens of Japan. So all roads leading there are packed with people looking to put a blanket on the ground near or under a cherry tree. Then, the blanket becomes a sort of ‘home’ and your friends come by (taking off their shoes before stepping on to the blanket) and they can bring food or buy it at the festival stalls. But there is a lot of drinking, and thus a lot of shouting, and bets and play ‘King’ games (you draw lots, and the ‘King’ gets to make the other numbers do thing like cross dress and sing the corporate anthem). Linda and I saw the Sakura Festival in Tokyo and in Kanazawa and the end of it in Kyoto.
Here in Victoria, in the 1930’s the emperor had his daughter stay here as the port of loading for the Empress of Japan transport Cruise liner. B.C., a seperate Colony had an embassy both in London but also in Japan in 1888. Canada had one several decades later, indeed the Emperor of Japan visited Canada in 2009 to celebrate 80 years of formal relations between the two countries, the first visit since 1953! This gave the Japanese who had moved to Canada a chance to do what they could not do in Japan: see or speak to the Emperor. As one Japanese immigrant said, “He represents 1,000 years of history.” The Empress of Japan built in 1930 sailed from 1930 to 1942, (when, due to war it was brought to Victoria and renamed, Empress of Scotland). Due to the hospitality, over 30 trees from Japan and the Emperor’s Garden were brought over and planted around the Empress Hotel (named after the series in the Canadian Pacific Cruise line, Empress of Australia, etc). Over the years many trees from Japan have been given to Vancouver (Stanley Park), Toronto (Hill Park) and the US in New York (Sakura Park in Manhattan, 3012 trees given in 1912 to celebrate friendship). Here are some of the trees on behind the empress, fronting a motel which, of course, is closed and being turned to condos!
Sakura is so important to Japan it is when the Calendar starts and ends, when both the fiscal and the school year starts, in April, also when coming of age ceremony occurs. So annually the first day of work or school is the start of the Sakura season – most schools have Sakura trees so that life events are all framed around the Cherry or Sakura blossom. It is also on the 100 yen coin (about $1). It was a sunny day yesterday so Linda pushed me out and about, into the van, and we went off to the library, after a stop to see the Sakura blossoms.
As you can see, I can now read print material, at about the same speed as before, however, as the day continues, my ability to read and what I can read decreases. Here is the advantage of having a wheelchair: a) being able to see the bottom row and b) being able to stack lots of books and manga on my lap!
I had not been to the library in a long time (a year, more?). One thing about memory problems is I only remember the ‘last memory’ regardless of whether I have visited or not, and if the ‘last memory’ is two years ago then people look kind of different and so did the library (there is now a free PC ‘gaming station’ with flatscreen monitors). But they seemed happy to see me again and I was off with all my booty back home.
Time to open the box, say I. ‘Not so fast’ says the bag it has been sent in. Arg, why are these always ‘puzzle boxes’ sent to defeat those with peripheral neuropathy! I am not sure if I should come back with ‘You are sly but so am I’ or just ‘HA! Try to stop me will you!” (I WILL use my teeth, I often do!)
I am not the most subtle when it comes to opening stuff, and if you think that your wrapping paper has been carefully folded out of sight, I am sorry to disappoint, or as people say, “Oh I see your cat got to the wrapping paper.”
My puzzled face, “No….er, I mean, yeah, that’s why it is all shredded like that.”
Ta da! I did it!
The prize was the RRP $169 Digital Picture Frame M820. It literally sings and dances. Or rather it has a touch screen for instructions, can store 1000 pictures without an external source (or use thumbdrives for more), can play movies and mp3’s. So with this handy Digital frame so you can have hundreds of pictures playing along with your favorite music. YES, do that and YOU CAN become the most annoying person at work. SCORE! I will use it in the bedroom I think where I can watch some of the videos we made and listen to music.
It was nice, but where were the shiny baubles? I have the brain which likes…. the pretty, where are the goth earrings, or art doujinshi, manga, um, gift certificates or a nice set of motorcycle leathers with a motorcycle to go with them! Um you know..more. Was there more, was there more? Seriously, you never did this as a child?
There wasn’t more.
I did however, roll up to boxing 30 minutes later. There I did way, way, way too many sit-ups (over 200) and push ups. I even had Linda put my legs up on my wheelchair seat while I was down on the mat and used weights in my hands and did even more sit ups. (I was um, 'trying to sweat' not 'trying to show the new class that I was as tough as those sleek girls in the yoga outfits'). I also did ‘transfer’ push ups (where you push on your fists to raise your butt off the ground and fist walk over to a new place). Then I brought in blocks and did even more transfer push-ups. Oh, I sweated, a lot. I really sweated. I drank over 2 liters of water before the nap and 4 liters after – and then I could finally pee out some junk from the muscles that were rebuilding. So I am sore in places I feel, and sore where I DON’T feel (Linda just says they are very hot) which is kinda weird. How can I rebuild or strengthen muscles I can’t feel? Anyway, a productive day I think. And a new toy to play with.
4 hours ago