New York’s Sakura Park, and Hop to Brooklyn

In New York recently for the annual Biographers International Organization conference, I followed some research leads for my biography of Eliza Scidmore. One morning I went to the Brooklyn Museum with a writing colleague to track down an important document. Another day I took a very long walk — 80 blocks, in fact — from my…

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‘Homecoming Trees’ Honor Takamine and Scidmore

Diana Parsell Homecoming Trees Japan

Eliza Scidmore is popping up all over the place here in Japan. Her cameo appears on plaques marking the presence of cherry tree saplings grafted from trees in Potomac Park — scions of the 3,000 flowering cherry trees that Japan sent to Washington a hundred years ago. Japan is getting a couple hundred of these…

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Group in Japan Keeps Scidmore Memory Alive

Scidmore grave site memorial

When I started this blog a year ago (in an earlier version, titled A Great Blooming), my first post showed a photo of Eliza Scidmore‘s grave in Yokohama. A Japanese friend of mine in America, Miho Kinnas, sent the picture after visiting the site on a trip to Japan. Scidmore is buried in the Foreign…

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During Research in Japan, a Gift of ‘Sakura’

Last Saturday (March 30), NHK television in Japan aired a 15-minute evening news special on cherry blossoms in which I was interviewed about my research on Eliza Scidmore. The footage included scenes of me strolling beneath cherry blossoms at Mukojima in Tokyo and visiting Eliza Scidmore’s grave in Yokohama. Among the viewers who responded was…

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Yokohama Nursery Co., a Century Later

That coat. I knew it at first glance. In Yokohama to do research for my book on Eliza Scidmore, I took a bus across town Friday morning to attend a ceremonial planting of dogwood trees at Honmoku Sanchou Park. The trees were among 3,000 dogwood saplings that America gave to Japan last year in exchange…

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I Tracked D.C. Cherry Trees in Tokyo

On Saturday I literally walked in Eliza Scidmore‘s footsteps. On a crisp spring day, during my research trip to Japan, I took the train to Tokyo for cherry blossom viewing at Mukojima. Strolling and partying beneath the blooming trees reenacts an ancient Japanese tradition known as hanami (cherry tree viewing). Eliza Scidmore got her idea…

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Off to Japan, in Eliza Scidmore’s Footsteps

Diana Parsell with Miki Ebara of NHK TV

A busy Saturday. I just spent five hours with a film crew from the New York bureau of Japan’s NHK television, talking about my research on Eliza Scidmore. Miki Ebara, the chief correspondent in New York,  first contacted me a year ago,  not long after I launched this blog (previously as “A Great Blooming”). She…

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Eliza Scidmore, Fairchilds and D.C. Cherry Trees

Daisy Fairchild w. cherry trees

Researchers, authors, students and history buffs gathered here last weekend for the 39th D.C. History Conference. I was there as a presenter on Friday, in a joint appearance with Washington author Ann McClellan. The conference focuses on several major themes each year. The topics this year included the sesquicentennial of President Lincoln’s emancipation of slaves…

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Guest Blogging on Eliza Scidmore at ‘Viral History’

Geishas Tea Ceremony NGS

Ken Ackerman, the author of books on J. Edgar Hoover, “Boss” Tweed and other larger-than-life characters, writes a blog on people, politics and the world, Viral History. He offered me space today to write about Eliza Scidmore while the cherry trees are in bloom. Visit his blog and check out my post.  

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Happy Birthday, D.C. Cherry Trees!

Yukio Ozaki Tidal Basin

The cherry trees are blooming, and Washington is now celebrating a very special event: the centennial of its first trees donated by Japan. On March 27, 2012, First Lady Helen Taft stood by the Tidal Basin and planted the first of 3,000 flowering cherry trees sent from the mayor of Tokyo. The Japanese ambassador’s wife…

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