やっと春が出てきた:桜も咲いた! – Spring Has Finally Come: Cherry Blossoms Too!

Memories of the winter’s long chill are always erased by the hot and humid summer.  So when the cold sets in around November, we forget just how good it feels to be rid of wearing coats in and out of the house at all times but the shower.  Every winter here feels longer than the last.  The prize however for enduring through it all is the blooming of the cherry trees, known as sakura.  This is a significant time of the year for the Japanese people, as these permeate every aspect of their culture – sakura is  mentioned in the majority of songs, represented in all mediums of art, and is even a popular girls name.  Furthermore, the weather report during spring will also detail when different regions can expect to see their trees bloom.  And these trees by the way are everywhere.  I’ve said it before, but I was really impressed my first spring at how it seemed every tree was in fact a cherry tree.  For these few weeks a year, the faint pink flowers line the avenues and dot my now greening mountain slopes.

One of the most significant activities that comes along with the season is ohanami, where people enjoy food, drinks, and the company of friends picnic style among the beauty of the flowering trees.  I had been looking forward to joining Kanako for this and she was kind enough to journey over to Takamatsu.  We opted to go to the park near the Shionoe art museum, which has a tree-lined walk near the river and also lacked the crowds of people.  We spent most of our time on a bench taking in the splendor of our environs and waving at curious kids.  For food, we inhaled some chicken sandwiches and cake rolls.  The flawless weather was only a compliment to an activity that bore all the elements of a successful date.

After our time at this hanamai, we actually made our way to a similar event at Ritsurin Park.  The only difference was that the second one took place at night and the trees were cast in colored lights.  This was a nice effect, but these trees were already starting to lose their petals.  Spring served me well, and geared me up for the transition to summer fun.

A little washed out, but still really nice

Here is one more where I tried getting a little artsy with the already fallen petals.

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