Sunday, February 7, 2010

Flowering Cherry, Cool n' Mauka

Cherry blossoms fall,
Hulihuli smokes our hair,
Bees ignore our lunch.

How can you tell when spring is arriving in Hawai'i? If you're upcountry in Waimea where the temps are cooler than in most places around the state, you'll get a clue from the bare cherry trees that begin bursting into pink blossoms, contrasting with the bright green lawn in the center of the town's church row. This past weekend, Waimea staged its 16th annual Cherry Blossom Festival, celebrating the cultural heritage and contributions of its long-established Japanese community.

There were historical displays...

...which also included propagation advice from the old-timers...

... and bonsai - sugoi! I think this bougainvillea, trained by one of the skillful members of the Waimea Bonsai Club, aptly resembles a miniature flowering cherry. Stunning!

Of course, as is often the case with cultural events in Hawai'i, there were multicultural comestibles galore. From the Filipino roadside stand my 'ohana took away some generous plates of broke da mout' hulihuli chicken, which we munched on while sitting under the trees to do the obligatory cherry blossom viewing -- hanami, Hawaii-style. At one of the booths I was lucky enough to purchase a couple of gorgeous tea cups from Waimea's extraordinary potter, Fumi Bonk. One cup was fired with kiawe wood and ash, the other with 'ohi'a wood and ash -- a lovely celadon, wabi-sabi style, locally made from Hawaii's botanical heritage.