Land of Sakura, sans Shinkansen

by tjmHolden

2 May 2007


Well, this might give it away at the git-go . . . but some of you are simply going to be quicker than others. It is, after all the nature of things. 

In this land in which I currently sit—the one that you are trying to deduce, the one the I have turned into a puzzle in the process of having traveled to—there are trees no different than those in the land I have just vacated. These regal subjects you would tend to know as “cherry blossoms” (”sakura”, they are called in the land of the now-departed ReDot).

The pictures, above, have these sakura in full flower. That fact tags these photos as dated—or, as I’d prefer, paints them with the taint of artistic license; for, as the botonists among you will immediately grasp, cherry blossom season was in full flower (so to speak) well over 3 weeks ago.

And although some hold-overs and recalcitrants and malingering stubborn few might still be spied in more northerly quarters, by the time I return almost all of these glorious bouquets will have long faded from the frame. Petals pushed to the ground, then swept away by the winds and shopkeep’s bristled brooms.

Such is the inexorable, unforgiving, determinsitic logic of life. For better and worse.


The glorious sakura were far from the last scenes I spied on my way from there to here. What I actually left behind—I mean the nearly last real conscious images committed to camera memory—were parcels of ReDot countryside streaming past the train’s tempered glass. Streaming by, at speeds approaching 300 kilometers an hour, it looked something like this . . .


(Yeah, I know: obviates the requirement for a steady hand bracing the shutter—and thanks for that!)

Which brings us to the second clue . . . not the blur, but the thing most responsible for this particular blur.

You with me so far? Good. And so here the rest of today’s riddle reads . . .

While it is the case that in the land to which I have traveled there are cherry blossom trees (sparse thnough they may be) no different than those in the land I have just vacated, it is not the same with trains. Yes, sure: trains abound in this new space. And, to be accurate and fair: trains were integral to the development of this nation. However, there is not, in this place, a train of the order of Japan’s so-called “bullet train”. None with the same top-speed, the same aerodynamic styling, the same reputation for custom-built precision and dymanic thrust as the ReDot‘s storied shinkansen.

In short, not the same blur factor over here as there is over there.


So . . . does that make it any clearer for you now? 


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