The Canadian Japanese Canadian Society of Central Vancouver Island has roots in Bowen Park and elsewhere in Nanaimo.
The society, also known as the Seven Potatoes Society – because Nanaimo translates to seven potatoes in Japanese – does not plant tubers, but Akebono cherry blossoms (prunus x yedoensis ‘Akebono’). Society members planted the first 12 of approximately 100 trees they hope to plant citywide around the Lower Bowen Park Picnic Shelter in a ceremony on Tuesday, February 15. Four more trees will be planted at Rock Ridge Park later this year.
“Today we are here to recognize, in a very tangible way, the relationship between Japan, British Columbia and Canada, but also to recognize the relationship between the city of Saitama, Japan, and the city of Nanaimo. said Mayor Leonard Krog. .
Saitama is Nanaimo’s “Friendship City” and a relationship between the two municipalities is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The planting project has been approved by the mayor of Saitama, Hayato Shimizu.
Krog said Japanese Canadian society and the planting of trees represent “an enduring and tangible recognition of the important relationship between our cities, but also…the contribution of those of Japanese ancestry to the development of this province and to the development of this city”.
“Later this year and year after year, we will see the beauty of this contribution to our community,” Krog said.
Tami Hirasawa, president of the Seven Potatoes Society, said the tree blossoms represent “the beauty and transience of life.”
“Japanese Akebono cherry trees, they bring beauty in the spring when they bloom and they don’t last very long, so they’re very ephemeral and – the fleetingness of life – when they fall to the ground, you just have to grab them during the day and enjoy life and nature when they bloom,” Hirasawa said.
Keiko Limshue, vice president of the company, led fundraising for the project.
“I started this project because I wanted to see more cherry blossoms in Nanaimo,” said Limshue. “When I was growing up in Japan, I saw cherry blossoms blooming everywhere and they just made me smile and I hope they bring smiles to your faces and beauty to our city too.”
The society continues to raise funds to plant up to 100 trees in Nanaimo.
To learn more about the project and the Central Vancouver Island Japanese Canadian Society, visit www.sevenpotatoes.com.