‘On the Hunt’ for Cherry Blossoms With a Japanese Film Crew

Japan’s TBS network aired an hour-long program March 18 in its  “Mystery Hunter” series in which I discussed Eliza Scidmore’s role in bringing cherry trees to Washington. I was interviewed for the show last month.

From left, reporter Nakada Asumi, assistant director Hoshuyama Aki, me, production coordinator Keiji Jinn Nishimura (in glasses, center), director Suzuki Yohei, audio man Sakuma Toshimi and camera man Fukumoto Noriyuki.

I spent several hours with the film crew on the weekend of February 4. What a hard-working bunch they were. They arrived at our house in Falls Church, Va., just a few hours after flying in from Japan–then did four hours of taping, including translations! Our yellow sun room felt cozy. Birds at the feeder outside the picture window made a nice touch in the film.

The group was thrilled I had a first-edition copy of Scidmore’s 1892 book Jinrikisha Days in Japan.” I found it on eBay a few years ago for fifty bucks, and though it’s fragile and crumbly, it’s wonderful to see in the original form.

For the TV program — a mix of game show and field adventure — I discussed Eliza Scidmore’s vision of creating a “Mukojima on the Potomac,” inspired by a mile-long avenue of cherry trees in Tokyo a century ago. I visited Mukojima in 2013.

We met again on a chilly Sunday in Potomac Park, where the original cherry trees donated from Japan were planted in March 1912.

Potomac Park in mid-winter was bleak. And the weather was especially cold for Washington. Fortunately, as production coordinator Keiji “Jinn” Nishimura (back center) told me, they also filmed the cherry trees in bloom last spring, so they have footage of the peak blooming season.

It was a joy to meet and work with such talented professionals.

After leaving me at mid-afternoon on Sunday, they headed off across town to film … the famous Ben’s Chili Bowl!

3 Comments

Filed under Biography, Cherry Trees, D.C. History, Eliza Scidmore, Japan, Media & Outreach, Research

3 Responses to ‘On the Hunt’ for Cherry Blossoms With a Japanese Film Crew

  1. Pingback: Tokyo TV Includes Eliza Scidmore in Cherry Blossom Story | A Great Blooming

  2. Rumi Umino

    Dear Diana,
    Today, I am watching a Japanese TV show “Discover Wonders in the World” (Sekai Fushigi Hakken), partly featuring Scidmore, and have thought of you!
    Keep in touch!
    Rumi.

    • Rumi.
      Thanks for alerting me to this.
      It was great seeing you during my trip to Japan in March 2013 and I hope we’ll be able to reconnect again in person before too long. I look forward to giving you a copy of my book when it’s done!
      Best, Diana

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