Travel to Japan and learn about the cherry blossom festival in the city of Kyoto.
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Host: In Japan, Cherry Blossoms are the harbinger of spring and the beginning of tourist season. Millions visit Japan for this remarkable display of color and millions more come from within the country to Kyoto, perhaps the most popular cherry blossom viewing city in all of Japan.
The cherry blossoms have also become a photographic event of Olympic proportions. Every conceivable size of cameras here plus now the ever popular cell phone has joined the party. For foreigners, it's a lottery to pick the right week but for locals, it's only a train ride away.
Female 1: Significance of the cherry blossom—they are very beautiful but they only bloom for a week. They know when to fall down when to die, so it's a symbolic flower for sunrise. They know when to die by the honor of their masters, they have to die—they will have to go to the battlefield by the order of their masters.
So a symbolic flower for a sunrise, very beautiful, the leaf is very beautiful, but they know when to die—courageous.
Female 2: Tell us about where we are and why it is so special?
Renee Rasmussen: Sure, this is basically along Kiyamachi Street. This is the Takasegawa Canal and it was built in 1611. It was used to build to bring resources such as timber and other building materials for the Hokoji temple. And so they built lots of cherry trees along, planted them along the side just sort of to keep morale up and have workers be happy and it worked really well and it’s beautiful today. And now we’re celebrating a cherry blossom festival, both yesterday, today and tomorrow, just sort of celebrating and peak blossoms.
Female 2: And why are you here? What is your job today?
Renee Rasmussen: Today my job is to be a volunteer and t give some information to English speaking and I suppose Spanish speaking tourist whom I may help them by.
Female 2: What do of you love about Kyoto?
Renee Rasmussen: I think I would say that the combination of the modern and the classic is really special about Kyoto. There is so much history and so much culture and yet it's a really modern and vibrant city. Always something to do, always something new to eat. And it is also draws a really eclectic and educated tourist type of crowd which is really amazing.
Male: And how did you end up here?
Renee Rasmussen: I’m actually here for the year—my husband is researcher at the university on a one year post doctoral fellowship in mathematics, so I got to come along for the ride and I’m really enjoying the time, soaking in the culture, teaching private lesson in English, and Spanish, learning about flower arranging, tea ceremony and I mean fascinating—once in a life time opportunity really.