Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Christmas Tree in January

The winter season is coming to the end of January. People call warm days in winter Indian summer. However, after New Year's Day, some warm days can be regarded as a sign that spring will soon arrive in the San Francisco Bay Area. The small grape and orange trees that we planted in our backyard last year have started to grow new leaves. Looking at them from nearby, my wife shouted when she found flower buds with colorful lines. Flowers will soon bloom. Roses have started growing new branches that will soon bloom with large, beautiful flowers.

January in the Bay Area makes me a little homesick every year because there are no New Year's decorations and women wearing traditional Japanese kimonos, which can be found in Japan in January. New Year sounds play an important part of decorating for the New Year in Japan. In an old downtown neighborhood where my elderly mother lives, shops play traditional New Year music and songs. In large, modern cities, such as Shinjuku, Ginza, Shibuya, or any part of the Tokyo Metropolitan area, even western-style department stores play Japanese New Year music. All of the sales women in these department stores wear Japanese-style kimonos.

Although I love living in the Bay Area and the United States in general, the abandoned Christmas trees left on the streets also make me sad every year during this season. From the beginning of December through early January, the San Francisco Bay Area is dressed up with colorful, beautiful ornamentation. Christmas trees are always central figures in Christmas decorations. These trees must be proud of themselves for playing a role in celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Every night, the trees are lit. On Christmas Eve, family members gather around the tree to exchange Christmas presents.

On Christmas morning, children pick up presents from their parents and relatives from under the Christmas tree. They rip off wrapping paper and shout with joy upon discovering their long-awaited toys. The Christmas trees warmly watch their enjoyment.

January comes. The Christmas trees complete their mission. Decorations are taken down. The city has a designated pick-up day for the trees. Every year, however, in every place I have lived in the United States, I come across trees abandoned along the street. It makes me sad. How can people treat these trees, which filled us with enjoyment throughout the season, so poorly? I see the sorrow of abandoned Christmas trees. I hear them cry.

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