Eliza R.Scidmore

It was September of 1884. Amidst the typhoon, a ship called Tokyo Maru departing from Shanghai arrived at the port of Yokohama. Among the passengers was a female journalist, Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore.

She saw Japan with eyes full of curiosity and was surprised at its beauty. The scenery of Japan was different from the vast reddish brown plains of the countries she had visited. In an instant, she became fascinated with this country. Since then, she made many trips to Japan.

The Japanese people that she saw had a high sense of beauty and their lives were rich in spirit. She was especially surprised at how they admired plum blossoms, herry blossoms, wisterias, irises, lotuses, and chrysanthemums throughout the whole year.

During the season of the cherry blossoms, Scidmore rode the rickshaw to the Sumida River. Cherry trees extended along the river banks and the clear water surface was covered with small boats. There were many people on the boats and under the trees, enjoying the cherry blossoms as they ate, drank, sang, and danced; it looked like so much fun and the scene was so heartwarming.

The sight of this day left a deep impression in her heart and she started to fancy an idea. "If we had such roads lined with cherry trees in America, how wonderful that would be."

(Mineko Machiyama)