March, 2013

This page is written monthly
by Harumi Okochi.
Sometimes Harumi's friends join.
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Cherry-blossom Grandpas on Jogodake Mountain.

Cherry blossom season is here!
I would like you to meet with some grandpas who planted 8000 cherry trees on a deserted mountain in Karatsu.
Will you join me to go up the hill to see the trees in full bloom?

Mr. Hiroshi Shidahara is the representative of the group who wanted to make the mountain live again.

Karatsu City.
In the suburbs, there is a mountainous village called Hirabaru.
This village used to be famous for its cultivation of oranges.
From the top of this Jogodake Mountain, Karatsu Bay is seen far, and this was a peaceful mountain with white orange blossoms in spring with sweet smells and the happy buzzing of the bees, and golden oranges in autumn.

But, time flew, and orange was not profitable any more. Imported oranges and the greenhouse oranges are the current, and this mountain was deserted.

Some of the elder farmers got together, and planned to make this place into a cherry blossom park.
Their dream is to regain their abundant village, with happy laughters of children, vigorous young men, and prosperous future.
They worked hard. Sometimes, the priority was on this park than on their own farming. They cut down the trees which were useless any more, and made the ground suitable for planting the cherry trees.
To burn the cut trees, they had to keep their eyes on the fire, not to cause a mountain fire. It was a very tough work of a long time. Wives helped them much.
8000 young cherry tees were bought, and planted there.
In summer, weeding was another tough work for them.
They had to make passways to walk around the park.
They needed a small house to welcome the guests.
13 years have passed. Trees are big now, ant the blossoms are quite beautiful.
Grandpas and their wives are quite happy now, and they are waiting for the people to come up this mountain to see their proud cherry blossoms.
If you walk up this pass, you will meet the people, who did not think about their profit, but only about their beautiful home village for their children and grandchildren.
Thank you everyone, for your interest in this story. I am sure that these men are the people who have a real wisdom.
Their pass ways are not flat enough, the rest place is not good enough now. But they are not worried.
They said, "Our trees will solve the further problems when they have grown up "

Hoping to see you next month again, I say good-bye now.

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