April in Portland, which means the cherry blossoms are in bloom and
excitement is in the air for the warm, sunny days to come! Portland’s Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park,
home to one hundred ornamental cherry trees, separates downtown from
the west bank of the Willamette River. The trees’ pink bloomage gives
Portland the perfect pick-me-up during the last stretch of overcast
Portland’s tie to its sister city Sapporo Japan is especially potent this time of year. This connection is celebrated with The Friendship Circle memorial at the north end of the Park (the memorial includes two 20-foot stainless steel towers that generate electronic tones!). The Japanese American Historical Plaza
is located south of the cherry trees and is dedicated to Japanese
immigrants and US-born citizens of Japanese descent who were deported to
inland internment camps during World War II.
Ken Tomita, one of Grove’s co-founders, and Yuji, his brother and Grove’s web engineer, are both Japanese-American. They were raised here in Portland by their mother, Machiko Tomita, who helped them maintain a strong connection with their Japanese culture and language. (Machiko is also a part of Grove, hand-oiling cases with care!) Ken makes sure the Grove team makes it down to “hanami” at Waterfront Park each spring, which is the important tradition of picnicking, singing songs, and drinking sake under the blossoms.
Japan, cherry blossoms can symbolize the ephemeral nature of life -
extreme beauty, transience, and mortality. These are interesting ideas
to think about during Spring’s new beginnings and sunny adventures.
by Mary Yajko. She is a Grove customer support rep and crazed blogger
originally from upstate New York. She enjoys opened minds,
uncontrollable fits of laughter, and large amounts of french fries with