Our arrival in Suzaka ended with many glasses of whiskey and sake. The next day, we slept late into the morning. Arising slightly dopey, I washed my face with the cold water from the tap out in the garden and was called by Sachiko into the dining room where breakfast was ready. Fried mackerel, spicy pork, rice, miso soup and green tea was just the ticket. Strenghtened by the nourishment, we headed off down the road in search of the blooming sakura. After some way, we met Sachiko`s Granny who was on her way back home from the potato plot.
Despite her hunched posture and weathered-beaten wrinkled face, she radiated an alert and friendly nature. She even knew some English.
`I`m eighty-po`, she told me.
`Eighty-four`, Sachiko corrected.
`I`m eighty-po`, she repeated, `One, two, three, po`, she added.
We just laughed. It was too funny to correct her twice.
`Genki, genki`, she said, making the peace sign with her hand.
`Genki, genki`, we repeated. Yes, we were fine.
After the friendly encounter Sachiko and I walked up and over a few mounds and along the road where the heavily laden cherry blossom trees arched and drooped grandly over the road. The leaves of the cherry blossom tree are an expression of the Japanese attitude to life – beautiful, but unbearably fleeting. In Japan they blossom for just a few a few weeks in each year.
After spending a short time appreciating the sakura we then passed into the peach orchards. Here Sachiko explained how during the summer, each peach blossom is stripped by hand down to one flower, so that the subsequent fruit grows solo and unrestricted leading to a wonderfully plentiful harvest in the autumn.