Become Line friends with Japanese camphor trees

Today I stumbled upon a hiking video about Mt. Tachibana in the area of Fukuoka, one of the biggest cities in Japan. The hiker highlights camphors and shows shots of tags with QR codes. The comments taught me it allows you to add the tree as a friend on Line (Asian version of WhatsApp) which brings you to a website with information and a quiz about the train, made by elementary school students. I think that is adorable.

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A small note. The tree at the screenshot is not a camphor, but a cedar. A camphor looks more like this:

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2 x “husband and wife”, April 22, 2018, Meiji shrine in Tokyo
These camphor trees, planted in 1920 at the time of the enshrinement of Meiji Jingu, have grown under the protection of the deities. Well known as “husband and wife”, or “meoto kusu”, the coupled trees have become symbols of marriage and harmony in the family.
For some reason, when I entered the domain of the shrine, the right tree drawn my full attention and I walked straight to it. I think it more magical than the shrine itself. No idea if the right tree is the husband or the wife.

In Japan, camphor trees are often seen as holy trees.

Anyway, the hiking video and the idea of the QR code reminds me to an American article from 2015 about a campaign in Melbourne that a friend shared with me some weeks ago.

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Let me copy paste one paragraph of this soul warming article:

Officials assigned the trees ID numbers and email addresses in 2013 as part of a program designed to make it easier for citizens to report problems like dangerous branches. The “unintended but positive consequence,” as the chair of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio, Councillor Arron Wood, put it to me in an email, was that people did more than just report issues. They also wrote directly to the trees—everything from banal greetings and questions about current events to love letters and existential dilemmas. “The email interactions reveal the love Melburnians have for our trees,” Wood said.

Isn’t that beautiful? By the way, it is funny that the chair’s family name is Wood. In matter of fact, my family name is also derived from old Dutch for wood. It seems tree sap runs through the veins of our families for many generation 😉

Communicating with trees does not only happen in Australia. On April 1st, another friend shared the video of Google Netherlands about Google Tulip. (I have this reputation of being a tree lover, so occasionally it happens to find tree-related messages in my inbox).  Google Tulip would allow us to talk with tulips.

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I really loved the video, and my friend too, but she was not aware it was posted at fool’s day. However, I am very sure it is going to be the future soon. In cities in Japan, I see a lot of loneliness among elderly, and maybe it would be good to connect old men that look like trees with trees that look like old men…

If you could add one tree to become your WhatsApp or Line friend, which tree would you choose and why? Let me know in the comments.