Each morning I listen to TBS radio`s weather forecast. This week I heard that a kanpa, 寒波 (literally, cold wave), is hitting all of North America, Europe and Japan together. It seems this shared cold snap is no coincidence; global cold has teamed up; we`re all in it together.
Today was another fridge-cold day, the sky overcast and gloomy. At lunchtime I wandered along the Kanda river to Inokashira Park. The park felt dark and lonely. It`s green roof has long disappeared; the tree trunks looked lifeless and shocked, as if electrocuted by the cold.
This afternoon I spent an hour trying to identify trees.
Trees are more lovable than animals, they`re quieter and more reliable. Valentines Day is approaching. A tree would make a great partner. You know where to find them and what they thinking of -absolutely nothing.
Sorry about that.
Tree spotting is not easy; I have tried and failed before. At least today I had some help – a photocopied tree map picked up next to the footbridge over the lake.
Many of the trees are numbered for reference. Today I concentrated on trees 1-10.
My valentine for today was the leafless, tall, narrow-trunked hannoki (alder). It was a blind date: I knew nothing about it. At the foot of the tree, a small panel supplied some information.
Hannoki were often planted along paths between rice fields. After the autumn harvest, the rice crop was hung to dry on it. Hannoki is also used in furniture, in construction, and it might protect you against Bird flu.
I liked it because it looked an upright burdock root.
Along the Sanriku coastline in north-east Japan, the tsunami of March 2011 washed away a forest of 70,00 pine trees. Only one pine survived. This surviving pine, the Miracle Pine of Rikuzentaka , is hailed as a source of strength and hope for tsunami survivors. Threatened by exposure to seawater, the tree is now being replanted.