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Cherry trees in Hamarikyu Garden / 6 April 2011

Close-up photo of cherry blossom

Close-up photo of cherry blossom. Photo © Gini

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The morning river is
pleated and folded. The sea
monster heaves it's way
inland and the early
sun sparkles, scurrying
to the harbour, are battered
against the river's concrete
containment. Battered and scraped
as the monster crosses the
river-bed; lazy this morning,
the caged animal not
breaching it's containment
just rolling it's muscle.
A warning, a statement:
You are the river, but I am
the Sea.

Today I roll along the river-walk to Tsukiji. Cherry blossom is exploding everywhere in the warm sun. Road-works threaten to block my exit, the rill normally containing water, is empty due to power-saving and is being repaired. The workmen assist me. I need to switch off the chair's power and they push; the skinny wheels make control less easy.

Tsukiji has the famous Fish Market, but today I'm going to the Hamarikyu Garden. There are notices everywhere, mostly they seem to be about power-saving; here at Tsukiji they proclaim closures of a more drastic nature. The tsunami will have long term effects on the fishing, and the radiation will have it's effect too; the notices are signed, "The Earthquake Generation".

Access to the Gardens is terrible. The steep and wonky slopes that occur quite frequently are just too much for the skinny wheels. Power hubs do have their disadvantages. I switch off and grab a fit looking young couple; they manhandle the chair over the dodgy bits.

Inside I'm informed that I'm free, given a map in English and one in Japanese. The Japanese map has a wheelchair route marked out in red and I'm reassured. Then I notice the very wonky gravel slope that lead into the garden proper. My heart sinks. I point out the difficulty to the ticket man. He offers no help. I ask him to push the chair over the bad bit, he agrees and I'm in.

Somewhere I have read that "by English standards the park at Hamarikyu is nothing special" and maybe through English eyes it is not. However it has fabulous trees, elegant spaces, beautiful stones, a tidal pond, and the best cherry tree so far.

The tree extends a welcoming branch, arched low over the pathway so I am surrounded by the delicate scent and amazing blossom: magical. And people are queuing to have their photograph taken with it. I spend quite some time here, now and again asking for help which seems willingly given.

Eventually I decide to find out if there is a different exit, there is and it's accessible. I roll back, slightly anxious about my path. The workmen have finished for the day, and fortunately they have left just enough room for me to get through. I roll home along the river, chasing the last remaining rays of sunshine that filter through the gaps between skyscrapers.