The Sweet Smell of Memories
Ever since I lived in Japan three years ago, going to hanami (cherry blossom viewing) has been something that holds a lot of significance to me. Going to view the sakura (cherry blossoms) was something I had looked forward to ever since I knew I would be going to Japan. I moved to Japan in May, but cherry blossom season is in March, so I had a long wait. The nearly ten month wait was worth it, getting to see and smell the delicate, fragrant blossoms cover the city, every tree transformed into a beautiful cloud, looking like it was made of cotton candy and out of a dream world.
In between my time in Japan and Korea, I had to miss a hanami season. Having to see my friends back in Japan post photos of their hanami parties on facebook was torture for me. I missed the festive feeling of spring making a grand appearance.
After looking around on the internet, I found out that High Park, in Toronto, also hosts a cherry blossom festival, at the end of April. I was ecstatic, because out of all the things I wanted to share with my parents about Japan, cherry blossoms were the top of that list.
After a lot of convincing and pleading, my parents agreed to take the ridiculously long trek to Toronto to, essentially, go and see a bunch of flowers with me.
Parking at High Park was a nightmare. I hadn’t realized it before, but cherry blossom viewing is popular with most Asian cultures, so every Asian in Toronto seemed to be fighting for one of the limited parking spots. To be quite honest, I couldn’t blame my parents for their visible frustration then, especially after one family decided that parking their car in the middle of the parking lot and simply WAITING for a spot would be one way to deal with the parking situation.
Despite the parking stress, we managed to get parked a few streets away, and were able to return the park. I know it seems ridiculous, but when I went over the hill and found a long, winding path of cherry blossoms leading me down towards the lake, which was also lined with sakura, I nearly teared up. Even in Canada, I was able to experience my most favourite part of Japan. While it wasn’t quite the same as being in Japan, it was more than enough to keep me sated. Even better, I could share this little piece of why I loved Japan so much with my parents, who never seemed to completely understand the appeal it held to me.
Fast forward to a year later Cherry blossoms line the streets and coat the mountains here in Korea. I’ve been enjoying every moment of seeing my favourite flowers all around me. The even better news though? My parents said they’ll probably go back to Toronto see them again this year.