O-Hana-Mi Party at Consul General’s Residence

Group Photo 2On a beautiful, early spring day on Tuesday, March 17, some 46 Tonari Gumi seniors, including 2 staff members and 2 volunteers, were invited to an o-hana-mi party (or cherry blossom viewing party) at the residence of the Consul General of Japan, Seiji Okada and his wife.  Upon arriving, our seniors were able to stroll through the cherry trees in full bloom in the residence’s gardens.  As explained by the Consul General, a large cherry tree with the most abundant blossoms and which presides in glory over the gardens behind the 012residence, is over 100 years old and likely one of the oldest cherry trees in Vancouver.  Among the seniors attending, Mytssu Fugeta was the oldest at 95 years of age, and also the one with the earliest association with the Consul General’s residence.  The Japanese government purchased the residence in 1926 and in 1927 Mytssu Fugeta (nee Sasaki) came to the residence at the age of 8 years old to perform a dance at the residence.   After strolling outside, admiring the beautiful cherry blossoms and enjoying some refreshments, everyone was invited inside the residence to enjoy a delicious bento lunch that was especially created by the Consul General’s own chef.  Everyone felt welcome at the residence and the warmth of the hospitality shown by Consul General & Mrs. Okada.  Several of our seniors commented that it was definitely a once in a lifetime experience for them.  Tonari Gumi expresses its most sincere appreciation to the Consul General and his wife for making this a very special day for our seniors.

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