a swapping of homes and trees

I was told last week by a man in Tokyo that the only “true” Japanese Sakura tree (non-hybrid) is the Yoshino cultivar, which originate from the hilly district of Nara where I am now living. If you make a trip to Washington D.C. in early April, you can see these Yoshino trees in bloom. Having been born and raised in Virginia, these trees were a part of my childhood–their blossoms are something that people in the D.C. area look forward to every year.

What is not very well known, but of particular interest to myself, is that in return for Japan’s gift of the Sakura trees, America sent a small thanks back to Japan in the form of a collection of dogwood trees, which are the state tree of Virginia.

In relation to this tree exchange, it’s a strange coincidence that a Virginia boy with a dogwood tree he planted in his front yard when he was 4 would find himself living just 15 minutes down the road from Yoshino Yama, the Japanese paradise for Sakura blossom-viewing.

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