Taichi & Cherry Blossoms

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      The green light of the land phone was flashing on and off when I got home the other day. It means there was a message in the answering machine while I was out. So I pressed the button, and a gentle voice reached my ears…

     “Hello. This is Panda. There will be a tai chi lesson and a cherry-blossom viewing party after the practice next Tuesday of the first. Why don’t you join us?”

     The lady saying her name as Panda is a friend of mine. I met her first at a training camp of doing tai chi last October.

     She is a wife of the chief priest of a Buddhist temple in Gamagori. She and her husband, the priest, hold tai chi lessons in the precincts of the temple every Tuesday and Saturday morning. (The temple used to be the family temple of Katahara Matsudaira, one of distinguished samurai worrier classes.) 

     I learn tai chi on Tuesdays and I have something to do on Saturdays. So I usually cannot participate in their lessons. But we have no class on April first because of the spring vacation. My class is one of extension courses at a university and the new school year starts on the seventh. So I went to the temple at the friend’s invitation with a friend of mine last Tuesday. 

     We left Nagoya before eight o’clock in the morning, but it was around 9:30 when we arrived at the temple in Gamagori. We stuck in the traffic jam. I saw many people doing something between the two stone pillars when our car was going through a narrow path. “I found it! We just passed the temple!” 

     There were more than thirty people in the precincts of the temple: women and men, old people, young people, and even little children. They were doing tai chi whose styles I didn’t know. I tried to copy their movement and exercised together. 

     After the lesson, we had a cherry blossom-viewing party under a beautiful cherry tree. They have many kinds of cheery trees in the precincts. We enjoyed delicious Japanese green tea with some sweets there.

     It was a little bit windy, but a very lovely day. Some of us decided to walk to a sushi restaurant for lunch. We enjoyed talking, seeing beautiful spring flowers while walking. And of course, the sushi lunch was excellent!

     After lunch, we went to see the cherry blossoms at a park, which has many weeping cherry trees. How beautiful they are! We had a wonderful time there!  

     By the way, there’s a poster on the notice board in the temple. The title is Itsutsu-no-yokatta in Japanese and it means the five good things. And it has the five items as follows: It’s good that I’ve smiled, it’s good that I’ve kept my mouth shut, it’s good that I haven’t said had things about anybody, it’s good that I haven’t got angry, and it’s good that I’ve said gently.  

     OK, I’m going to try to do anything with smile, and to say just good things in the coming new school year!

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