Tulip Time in Seattle!

Every year, my wife and I go to the Tulip Festival at Mount Vernon, WA, which is a famous festival near Seattle. This year was the first for Little Guy. We always visit Tulip Town farm when we go. The weather was really great this time (it’s often rainy and muddy), and we got lots of photos:

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I took that photo with my camera phone. This one too:

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When we go to the Tulip Festival, my family and I often sing a famous children’s song in Japanese:

さいた さいた
チューリップの花が
ならんだ ならんだ
あか しろ きいろ
どの花見ても きれいだな

Saita, saita
Chuurippu no hana ga
Naranda naranda
Aka shiro kiiro
Dono hana mitemo kirei da na

Which I might loosely translate as:1

They’ve bloomed, they’ve bloomed
The tulip flowers have bloomed.
They’re lined up, they’re lined up:
red, white, yellow
No matter which flower you look at, they’re all beautiful.

This song was first published in 1932 (Showa 7), in a children’s book called 「エホンショウカ ナツノマキ(絵本唱歌 夏の巻)」 which might translate into something like “A Summer’s Collection of Pictures and Songs”. You can hear it here:

But also, being a Buddhist nerd, I am often reminded of a passage from the Amitabha Sutra (阿弥陀経), translation by Reverend Inagaki:

In the ponds [of the Pure Land, 浄土] are lotuses as large as chariot-wheels — the blue ones radiating a blue light, the yellow a yellow light, the red a red light and the white ones a white light. They are marvelous and beautiful, fragrant and pure.

Enjoying the Tulip Festival here is like enjoying a small sample of the Pure Land, I think. 🙂

Happy Spring everyone!

1 You might wonder why the English translation is so much longer. A complete sentence in English is SVO (Subject Verb Object), but in Japanese it is just V or A (adjective). So, “saita” is the past-tense to bloom, and is a complete sentence, but in English you have to say “the flower bloomed”, or even “it/they bloomed”. Tae Kim has a much better explanation of this.

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Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

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